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Boomkat Product Review:
Still one of the few non-Norwegian acts on the Rune Grammofon roster, Danish trio Skyphone have honed their craft considerably since the release of 2004's Fabula. Where once you could assess the handiwork of Thomas Holst, Keld Dam Schmidt and Mads Bodker as a variant strain of electronica, Avellaneda finds them confronting a sound that's far less easily categorizable, exploring a fertile electroacoustic hinterland that relies less on micro beats than its predecessor, instead calling upon a vastly expanded repertoire of source sounds. In which case, the glitchy, popping rhythms of 'Cloudpanic' aren't entirely representative of what's to come, but this introductory track does merge the boundaries of electronic instrumentation and less processed, rawer sounds, something the group excel a throughout the album. Skyphone's knack for making electronic music sound entirely naturalistic and warm becomes apparent on 'All Is Wood', sounding a little like Air's 'Alone In Kyoto' from the Lost In Translation soundtrack, partly because of the shamisen-like lead instrument, but also because of the beautifully proportioned production. The weightless guitar and clockwork tinkering of 'World Station' steers the album into a different direction altogether, stacking layer after layer of gorgeous ambient sounds (field recordings, domestic ephemera, analogue synths and an airy hiss) to create a sonic backdrop you could happily lose yourself in. A natural follow-on from this is 'Schweizerhalle', using a similar configuration of sounds but with the addition of music box sounds, a firm piano melody and weird electronic modulations. There are parallels to be drawn between Avellaneda and the sort of immersive, freeform instrumentals of Tape, but if anything Skyphone prove themselves a more sonically diverse proposition than their Swedish contemporaries. As the album develops you'll find yourself overwhelmed by just how beautifully recorded and carefully assembled it all sounds, from the deep rhythmic grooves of 'Dream Tree Lemur' through to the electronically dismantled folksy fingerpicking of 'Leafchisel' there's something to delight the ears at every turn. Lovely.