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date palms - Of Psalms
"Of Psalms" is the fabulous Root Strata debut of Date Palms, set up by Marielle Jakobsons and Gregg Kowalsky (author of such fine releases as Kranky outing Tape Chants). The label very aptly describes the release as "a suite of slowed-down music of the spheres, with a canopy of glowing fog and a heavy narcotic bass pulse that keeps the whole thing rooted straight into the earth." The album certainly introduces itself in regal style, sinking into a deep, low-end haze with 'Psalm 7', a kind of minimalist raga full of bowed strings and commanding bass routines. In addition to some of the more expected experimental reference points, you might be reminded of hazy loveliness of the earliest Air releases, or indeed the latest material from The Alps. Over the course of the record, violins, electric piano, harp and tape treatments all convene to shape a drone record that feels utterly organic and more purposeful - more thoughtfully composed than most. Both musicians are steeped in the more academic side of the contemporary music scene, each having studied Electronic Music courses at Mills College, yet the very natural sounding, raw instrumental materials are unfettered by any heavy-handed post-processing or excessively cerebral theorising. You will, however, hear some great synthesizer sound designs running through a piece like 'Psalm 4', lining up alongside Noah Philips' electric guitar screech, and the steady, modal oscillator meditations of 'Psalm 3' lay the foundations for a wonderfully full-bodied tonal landscape. This LP is limited to just 500 copies and comes very highly recommended.