Review of Shoals [12k1060]

Resonant Strata (.COM)

It’s been quite some time since Taylor Deupree’s last solo album. There were a couple of EPs and collaborational works with renowned artist such as Stephan Mathieu or Savvas Ysatis but Northern – the last album is already five years ago. The foundation of Shoals lies in his artist in residency at the Music Research Center of the University of York in 2009. During this stay Deupree recorded material from various instruments such as Gamelans – mostly not directly playing them but using their body as sound source or using it in different ways than intended with e-bows and similar tools. The resulting recordings and loops were post-processed and reworked later in his studio.

Shoals feels very intimate. Little cracks and tiny noises that flicker between the meditative foggy textures. Shoals is breathtaking. Not only because of the quality of the recording, but also because everything is laid out so carefully that you don’t want to disturb anything or interrupt the well paced movement. The sounds are so gently and carefully placed, Shoals has an almost zen-like openness with its floating pads moving so slightly and sublime that it feels like listening to a far away short wave radio station – the sounds emerge and dissolve again into the ether, resonating between the walls. Unlike a lot of recent ambient records, Shoals is not a reverb drenched, opaque piece of music, it’s a crystalline meditation on sound, movement and harmony.

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