Review of Shoals [12k1060]

Toneshift (US)

As part of an arts residency of the University of York’s New Aesthetics in Computer Music, Deupree recorded Shoals in the Fall of 2009. The title track curiously emerges up as its moniker refers, a shoal being a “sand bar in the bed of a body of water, especially one that is exposed above the surface of the water at low tide.” Tingling noises float upward, fade under the mirrored plane of reflection and are swallowed momentarily. Constant hiss reminding of the potential dangers even at this low-level. Deupree has made several records dealing with the land and the sea, and at 45-minutes in length, broken into four separate tracks, this is a cross section of his observations. By using the edges and surfaces of Gamelan instruments there’s a peculiar tonal wave that comes from the slow caress of these objects. And by expertly processing the sounds he made the finish one that has a certain radiant resilience, coursing quite gradually – like the way foam dissipates on the shore edge on a sunny day. As it dries in the light, it captures bright rays, opening and popping like cellulose chambers into the air – this is what you hear on “Rusted Oak.” There is something neutral in the natural, palpable yet inorganic at times. You can feel the brittle edges transform and fracture on “A Fading Found” but its too clean and lucid to seem as if any field recordings were the primary element herein. But Shoals is a warm departure from earlier recordings like Northern (2006) and January (2004) where similar processing was used, but the end result was a bit less earthy or gradual. This record takes its sweet time in coming across soulfully, especially heard on the stunning closer “Falls Touching Grasses” reflecting less treated Asian influences and the power of a soft wind.

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