Album Review: Choral - Mountains

Mountains is Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp and Choral is their third album and marks a watershed as it is the first not to be released on their own Apestaartje label, but on Thrill Jockey. Ambient in nature, Choral takes it's cues from Eno and post-rock in an effort to create a serene, emotive sounscape that could be the soundtrack to a Alejandro González Iñárritu movie - it has that same feeling of chaos in slow motion.

And the understated, slow-moving sounds are beautiful.  What is perhaps more surprising however is that they pack an emotional punch and a degree of technical brilliance too.  It might be easy to make music to visit the spa to - all new age imagery incorporating the sounds of nature - but to aliken Choral to that would be to cheapen it.  The sparse us of guitar and the melodic patterns give the album a level of emotional gravitas that can be all to easy to lose in ambient music and the technical brilliance is obvious - much of Chorals was done using no overdubs and when they were used it was to add a larger, choral sound.  Sounds of nature have been incorporated - Telescope for example features the sounds of a thunder storm - but these have been utilised in a way that makes them simply another musical instrument that Mountains have at their disposal, the origin of the sound disguised behind layers of sound.

Relaxing, considered and defined by space, yes but boring never - Choral is a beautiful piece of work.  You can download an MP3 of the opening (title) track here (right click - save as).

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