Mountains – Centralia (Thrill Jockey)

Mountains – Centralia (Thrill Jockey)

Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg meticulously craft together piano, organs, guitars and cello with synthesizers and modular electronics to create an ambient/experimental storybook. The Brooklyn duo guides us to a tale of metamorphosis in their third full-length recording on Thrill Jockey.

The album begins with the serene Sand, which invites images of a boat embarking on a long journey. The subtleties of the sea and sky move through the hopeful blend of repetitive melody and rattling breaks. The continuation of the journey through the sea continues into Circular C, where the blocks of sound are put together to sound like the span of a day; changes of light, weather and movement are expertly hinted at through the smooth transitions.

The longest track on the album, Propeller, lasts over twenty minutes but the length is cleverly disguised through the arrangement. Impressively, it’s a live recording that has been tweaked in the Brooklyn studio. Here we shift into another wide, open space, from the sea to the air. The gradual formation of the song is sensitively spun to wash over you. Liana is another live recording, and the sounds used are not as natural or earthy as those on the previous tracks. It begins with weird electronic bursts, and later introduces unexpected power chords, marking what seems to be the climax of the narrative.

The complex layering of sounds in the seven tracks join together in one meditative drift. Centralia doesn’t scream for your attention or bend to the impatient listener’s ear, but its stubbornness brings a worthwhile elegance.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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