Mark Templeton returns with the third instalment in his Heart trilogy. Following on the heels of Scotch Heart (2011) and Jealous Heart (2013), Gentle Heart is a fitting closure to this story, an album filled with bending, yearning phrases – sounds that feel like they are actually speaking to you from another time, as if they’re being piped into the room where you’re listening today.
There is a continued use of elements that hearken to tape machines and older technology combined with acoustic instruments and modern studio techniques and sensibilities, squarely centered in the contemporary moment. Loops stumble and fall off their track, then regain their footing, breaking the concentration enough to remind you that someone is here and paying attention. In both structure and emotion, Templeton captures time in a novel way – connecting points that don’t immediately lend themselves to such a connection, deftly balancing qualities that are both haunting and inviting. This music is one of imagined memory, capturing moments that never happened, but could have.
An example of this can be seen in how the track titles suggest a sense of Western tropes, but the music is anything but, not intentionally misleading the would-be listener but rather nodding to a set of ideas and images that drive the artist’s intentions in this album, and through his interpretations the tracks become far removed from any assumption of what these words or images may mean. It speaks to what is happening in the background and lets the listener think about how one point moves to another. It is not a strict form. It is a flexible guide that allows the music to touch things that it doesn’t hold on to tightly – playing with mood and tone while veering into its own direction.
Much in this vein Gentle Heart closes with two pieces that make one think of a vast prairie, one that has been rearranged in a computer and put back together – not to make it more digital but to make it new through the perspective of today. Twangy guitar strums filled with hisses and fuzz roll into clipped phrases that are nostalgic in their specific way, a modern imagining of a past time that may hold a sense of simple peacefulness, of space, of a long view that goes forever. -Ezekiel Honig
It’s raining outside. The faint noise of the rain in the trees perfectly couches the moment I start listening to this album in melancholic anticipation…
The album, since you’re asking, is A Cradle In The Bowery, the first solo record from Chicago’s own, the brilliant, Zelienople; going under his given name, Matt Cristensen.
Mind Over Mirrors might not be a household name, but the brain behind the project, Jaime Fennelly, has been involved in numerous acclaimed and respected projects over the last few years. Primarily known for his work as an integral member of Peeesseye, he’s also involved with Acid Birds, Manpack Variant and Phantom Limb & Bison.
‘The Voice Rolling’ is his first solo record in five years and the first under this new moniker. First and foremost, this is a harmonium record and that’s important to remember because it doesn’t sound like any other harmonium record you’ve likely heard. Nearly all of the sounds created were made using a medium-sized Indian harmonium and then processed electronically via tape echo, harmonizer and other guitar pedals. Add in the fact that it was recorded to tape and you get a dense, warm record full of grit and emotion.
A new collaborative project from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and William Trevor Montgomery. Both musicians played together in Tarantel and Moholy-Nagy. Cantu-Ledesma also runs the superb Root Strata label, releasing solo material under his own name (including a recent LP on Type), and also plays in The Alps. Montgomery also releases music under Lazarus, The Drift and Believer.
This project was originally conceived and composed as a soundtrack to an unreleased western. The 14 tracks on this record are beautifully delicate, textured, sparse pieces ranging from slow acoustic reflective moments, to fully electric strumming, they capture the feel a western perfectly. It’s a shame the film never made it out, because judging by the music it would’ve been a beautiful spectacle.
The project was was recorded by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and William Trevor Montgomery and mixed at studio Lamantia, the record was mastered by Greg Davis. The image on the cover is a still from a Paul Clipson film, whose films have previously featured the music of Jefre, Barn Owl, Tarantel, Gregg Kowalsky and Metal Rouge. Sleeve layout by Jefre. Pressed on 140 gram black virgin vinyl. Limited to 500 copies