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mountains - Choral
Following on from last year's triumphant vinyl-only release Mountains, Mountains, Mountains on Catsup Plate, this latest opus from Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg finds the pair decamped to Thrill Jockey. Mountains have certainly risen to the challenge of releasing via a bigger label, and Choral could reasonably be considered the duo's most refined full-length to date, serving up six tracks of highly evolved drone-folk, all exquisitely produced and filled with dynamic variation. The thirteen-minute title track marries acoustic drones, spectrally sifted electronics and a host of voices embedded in the background noise. It's a dense and effulgent piece of electroacoustic music - tantamount to a long drawn out fanfare - lighting the path ahead for more subtle pieces like 'Map Table', which combines clear and carefully picked acoustic guitars with deep, textured field recording treatments and a healthy supply of blurry synthesis, Boards Of Canada style. Another glaring highlight comes in the form of 'Melodica', which sets out with a jangle of chimes and digital echo before swelling up with a fragrant, effortless warmth that's like a blast of summer air. Mountains have set themselves apart from a good many of their peers and contemporaries, offering an alternate take on abstract electroacoustic music; while Fennesz, for instance, has moved into more earnest, classically-oriented territory with Black Sea, Holtkamp and Anderegg deliver a kind of 21st century folk music - one that's immersed in the aesthetics of modern technology yet retains a very natural, very approachable sound. Absolutely gorgeous music and a massive recommendation.