Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pine Smoke Lodge - Haligdaeg (Stunned Records CD-R)

Back to back days of reviews? Unheard of... of course when you've got this much catching up to do, it's more than a bit unforgivable not to do that so two slaps on the wrist here and let's move on. This one is long overdue, harkening way back to the batch before the latest one on personal Eden, Stunned Records. They never miss a beat of course, and this one is just as solid as you would expect/hope.

Pine Smoke Lodge consists of Hillary and Matt, who runs Existential Cloth (swell label) over in Portland, Maine. Seems they've been spending plenty of time in Strange Maine of late, cause this tape takes the grim of that space, spruces it up a tad and gives it a nudge into daylight. Wipes it's charcoal eyes clean quick too, as these little acoustic iterations delay ad infinitum into the endless hollow landscape stretching beneath. "Overgrown White Hut" (wait, huts don't grow?!) shoots it nice and easy into the cosmos without getting too "drone/space/splooge"-y that it's rendered useless and laid to rest among the other cd-rs in the collection. Rather, this stuff has a crisp freshness to it--recorded well, it captures textural delicacies that too often render this type of music into sounding like itself over and over.

Keep mentioning over and over/ad infinitum, but really, whether it's positive or negative, that's the point here. Sheets slip into more sheets, shaping the work over long expanses of desert like some ambient work composed at high altitude. There's less oxygen up there, you see, so the focus is a bit hazy, but the sound carries as well as anywhere. Gotta give props too for the vocals which, though immediately identifiable upon entry, never shift this thing back down to lock down. Rather, they're matched with machine innards and shell bells that take you outward toward some less familiar dimensional territory. Fresh stuff, Stunned rules (still).

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