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Boomkat Product Review:
The Sea And Cake's Sam Prekop continues his voyage into experimental electronics, using a Prophet 5 and beefy modular setup to eke out where Chicago might fit into the kosmische synth canon. RIYL Tangerine Dream, Jim O'Rourke, Keith Fullerton Whitman.
Since 2010's "Old Punch Card", Sam Prekop has set down his guitar in favor of a modular synth system that's been central to albums like 2015's "The Republic" and 2020's "Comma". While he's still best known for his influential presence in Chicago's 1990s post-rock landscape, alongside Tortoise and Chicago Underground Duo, he's now built up a solid reputation in the electronic realm - and "The Sparrow" might be his most daring record to date.
On the 17-minute title track, Prekop fiddles with rhythm, melody and space in a way that's no longer divided from his Chicago roots - at times it sounds like Jim O'Rourke jamming with Raymond Scott, rough edged and experimental but soothing too. Prekop's other tracks are more compact but just as engaging: 'Step and Stair' is ominous and stark, and the clear highlight 'Fall is Farewell' (influenced by Michael Smalls' soundtrack to "Klute") is a rainy, cinematic earworm that's as immaculate as Tangerine Dream's Michael Mann soundtracks. The album ends on its most cheerful note, with the playful (and certainly Radiophonic Workshop-inspired) 'Palm'.