Boomkat Product Review:
A beautiful addition to Chicago's Immune imprint, Steven R Smith's highly limited 'Cities' long player is among the finest collections of folk drones you'll come across in 2009. Smith's work as part of Thuja, and semi-sacred releases on the hallowed Jeweled Antler collective have singled him out as an enigmatically melancholy soul, mastering the art of rich drone music with a darkened character. These are solitary instrumental songs, avoiding the somtimes excessive and indulgently lengthy track times preferred by many in that scene, and instead crafting neatly engrossing compositions of immediate beauty. The exquisite tone of his sparse acoustic guitar picking blur into folk drift melodies while peat-rich bowed cello sustains the drone on 'Cities In Decline', wheras he opts for plaintive pianos and half heard field recorded textures on 'The Paling Sky' for a gorgeous effect. However, the most intensely gratifying track here also happens to be the shortest, with the spaciously cushioned reverb applied to his acoustic guitar simply felling us in one short swoop, before leading into the slow burning majesty of 'Distance And Passing', slowly drawing a line of bowed Cello to the concluding muffled epic, too shy to reveal it's full face and concealed in visceral distortion. Sublimely cathartic music - a massive recommendation.