Friday, May 8, 2009

The Doglands - EP (Stunned Records CD-R)

Last up in the latest batch of Stunned releases is actually not an official release at all, but rather a bonus disc that Phil sends out when you order a batch. Of course that means that this is even more limited than everything else he puts out (only 40 copies) so it's sold out already, but I'm sure there are a few floating around if you so desire.

I'm not sure who the lone representative that is Doglands might be, but whoever it is, they have a knack for a certain sun-dappled junk improv that immediately nestled right in my noggin's summer cortex. Presenting nine tracks in its brief 26-minutes, this reads more as a series of takes than individual constructions, as it opens with a jangling acoustic guitar ramble that somehow manages to capture a distinctly Californian sentiment (though apparently he's from Oregon, so there goes that...). Still, there's something super warm and inviting about the deconstructed folk here, even on the third untitled track where he goes electric and runs a series of super loose lines through some heavy wah. Very light and fun, but also interesting play going on here, very floppy and pretty stoned out.

Elsewhere he puts down the guitar in favor of synthesizer moves, for which Doglands has a real knack. These nicely textured and detailed improvisations never lay it on too heavy, instead representing a dronier side to the guitar aesthetic presented earlier in the disc. The fourth track's brief pan pipe echo and fuzz nestles itself perfectly between the electric wah track and a small acoustic guitar and flute number that is intimate in scope but quite expressive and delicate in effect. The sixth track is another drone number that, at 6-minutes, represents the longest number here. A slow, almost ballet-inflected pulse hovers in on a one-two count while shadowy tones glide across, echoing into the hollows before flying toward the sun. The seventh track is even lighter, taking the same idea and infusing it with gentle keys that meld lovingly with the general feel here before the flutes reenter on track eight. The last brief work pulls from everything already presented for a jingling guitar and flute vista. Utterly beautiful, and expertly packaged in Tibetan rice paper that is as deep a blue and pleasant to the hand as the Doglands is to the ear. Special little disc, well worth hunting down.

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