Friday, August 13, 2010

Brother Raven - VSS-30 LP - Digitalis
Brother Raven LPs!
Really happy to have a few copies of the brand new Brother Raven LP, VSS-30. These guys are a duo operating out of Seattle, each half an active member of the underground music scene by their own right. Their music is made using old synthesizers recorded directly to tape, then carefully edited into substantial, fully-realized synth-scapes that float somewhere between ethereal space music and more terrestrial, melodic work. It's been close to a year since I last checked in on these guys via their Nellie tape, also on Digitalis, and in the meantime the amount of synthesizer music being put to tape has about quadrupled. Brother Raven were head-and-shoulders above the crowd then -- their synth explorations always tight and focused where others were just twiddling away -- and that is only more so now. In line with their past work, there is always a steady pulse underlying the pieces here but the range, both in style and sound, is greatly expanded. The compositions are on the whole leaner -- stereo echo is used to great effect to give the pieces weight and width -- and the duo confidently move beyond the safe, hazy, new-age-iness of the moment. There are some welcome curve balls on the LP, a heavily rhythmic track with echos of early 90s dance music, a bubbling Raymond Scott tribute, the white-noise boulders that come crashing through the placid solar-tones of the opening track. Excellent work from Brother Raven here, doing what they do well while still pushing themselves in new directions. $14

No comments: