I've followed Mountains since their first release through Thrill Jockey - Choral, their third album overall - and whilst their sound doesn't ever change massively every album feels like a treat to listen to.
Mountains are Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg and they specialise in making slow-cooked ambient soundscapes. I've probably said this before: ambient music makes me hate my ears a little bit. But when it is done well it can be truly special, and Mountains can generally be relied upon to get it right.
To make this album Holtkamp and Anderegg focused on separating their acoustic and electronic instruments out, with each recorded separately. What this means is that their is no electronically manipulated sound based on acoustic sources. The result adds a little more of a human element to the Mountains sound, as the acoustic elements - the guitars, cello, organs and piano - all feel a little more exposed.
In places this combination is Mountains at their best. The desert-mirage soundscape of the closing minutes of 'Sand' - the cello rhythmically circling back into the music. The dreamy piano keys hidden behind the layers of electronic hum and gentle guitar on 'Indentical Ship'. The descent into nature's ambient noise on 'Tilt' and the contrasting electronic equivalent on 'Propeller'.
The pure electronic moments don't always work, a little clinical and with less perceptible change, but the album is tied together like a constantly changing iceberg, flipping as sounds are created and other melt away. Mountains remain a transcendent act within the ambient genre.