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sanso-xtro - Fountain Fountain Joyous Mountain
*Mastered by Lawrence English and cut at D&M in Berlin* Sanso-Xtro's long awaited follow-up to her 2005 debut for Type finally arrives, and sees an amazing development of sound. It's a gentle, fragile collection of songs and instrumentals that remind us at one moment of Talk Talk, at others of old Alan Lomax recordings, with Gamelan and Kosmische experiments dropped in-between the gaps. In the time that has passed since 'Sentimentalist' Melissa Agate removed herself from the UK to South Australia near Adelaide. Living in relative "hibernation" gives some explanation to the more intimate and sublime new sound she's put together, revealing sugared and reduced glosolalia applied to an array of synths, accordion, melodion, kalimba, guitar and custom-made percussion contraptions which fold into her exquisite and fragile blend of Kosmische, electronica and avant-pop. With 'Fountain Fountain Joyous Mountain' she builds on the ideas of her first record with ornate detailing and a blissfully attuned sense of arrangement, making her multi-dimensional songs seem playfully effortless. After catching us by the hairs of the neck with hypnotic, alien gamelan tones in 'Fountain Fountain' her layered vocal unexpectedly closes the track with a blissful flourish. Following this, her background as a drummer soon becomes evident in the tingling percussion of 'The Origin Of Birds' coupled with daubs of dizzying melody, which, in its fragile balance of microcosmic chaos refracts into the natural world themes of 'Wood Owl Wings A Rush, Rush' and the album's literal and figurative centrepoint 'Hello Night Crow' where her vocals make another poignant intimation. Like all good things, Agate uses her voice sparingly - they don't return until the album's closing strokes after the refracted Jazz tumble of 'Goodnight Thylacine' and the suspenseful acoustic guitar piece 'Light Come, Light Go, Ghost'. When 'Exit: Joyous Mountain' arrives it feel like an old Alan Lomax gem dug up from a creek bed, wheezing melodica/harmonica in systolic synchronization with tantalising vox.