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barn owl - Ancestral Star
Returning with a brand new album of arid, dustbowl blues and slow-motion desert-scapes, Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras resume duties as Barn Owl for a third album. Previously this band has tended to court associations with the sound developed by Earth for their Hex album; the overall effect is resolutely bleak and doom-laden, yet not entirely without some grounding in the language of grassroots Americana. Ancestral Star takes the Barn Owl sound to a new level of refinement, spending much of the record luxuriating in limitless expanses of guitar tone and extended bouts of sustaining strings. Joining the guitars, modular synth drones (courtesy of The Norman Conquest - who also co-produces and supplies submerged vocal elements) underscore the title track, while elsewhere Marielle Jakobsons of Darwinsbitch adds violin to the record's instrumental repertoire, providing a more tactile and rustic counterpart to the abstracted palette of horizon-stretching guitar textures at the heart of Calminiti and Porras' music. It's a cliche to start banging on about how this would make a great soundtrack to a western, but it really would.