Review of Low Flying Owls [12k1099]

Zen Sounds (DE)

In the summer of 2012, a couple of 12k artists came together in a ryokan in Kyoto, recording a stunning 35-minute piece released that December as an album under the moniker Between. These traditional Japanese-style inns are windows into a magical world of the past – one that writer Jun’ichirō Tanizaki described so perfectly in his famous 1933 essay “In Praise of Shadows”.

Ten years later, Deupree and guitarist Stephen Vitiello stayed at a Florida beach house. Overlooking the Atlantic ocean, they created soundscapes with guitars and electronics. Over the next months they invited more artists from the 12k roster to record overdubs on voice, clarinet, piano, synth, drums, bass, percussion, vibraphone, lap steel guitar, and Dobro. Deupree is known for fostering community among the artists he’s working with, routinely introducing musicians that might be interested in collaborating with one another.

While a long-time fan of the label might feel right at home on the first two tracks, something changes in a profound way with the unexpected advent of Marcus Fischer’s drums almost five minutes into the third track “Know”. So far, rhythm had never been a relevant category on 12k releases. Fischer changes that, but his restrained drum playing leaves loads of space for other sounds, resulting in something close to ECM-style chamber jazz. This doesn’t seem to be a one-off experiment, as the latest Illuha album “Tobira” also saw the addition of a drummer.

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