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Boomkat Product Review:
Produced over the course of two years, A Path Less Travelled unites Japanese improvising microsound quartet Minamo with Room40 boss, Lawrence English. Field recordings, processed sounds and, of course, Minamo's initial instrumental sketches all come together in a gentle harmonic fusion that's at once layered and detailed yet eminently peaceful. You'd assume that countless hours of post-production have gone into the making of this record, yet early standout 'Headlights' still retains a very live feel as it spools through minimal guitar musings and electric piano tones. All this is set to a backdrop of chirping cicadas, adding not only an extra sonic dimension but also a high frequency sub-current that compliments the wandering melody. Next up, 'Glimmer' proves to be especially successful, merging what sounds like wind instrument passages with waves of crackle and hum. The physicality of the piece serves in stark contrast to the more gossamer tones of 'Headlights' or 'Springhead', a far more feathery affair that opens with some tingling bell noises only to unfurl with stretches of harmonium drone. Far and away the longest track on the album, 'Springhead' goes through various evolutionary stages, peaking with a tuneful, brassy finale that feels like quite a departure from those tentative beginnings. The album closes with the most song-like of all the selections: 'Fireworks', whose strummed guitar backdrop provides both a rhythmic cue and a chord sequence for the otherwise droning instrumentation to follow. A fine set from these two institutions of modern-day micro-ambience, A Path Less Travelled comes with a hearty recommendation to fans of either party's work.