remote_ thoughts | contemporary electronic

Taylor Deupree – Shoals – 12k

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Organic by remotethoughts on June 28, 2010

Taylor Deupree - Shoals

Artist: Taylor Deupree

Title: Shoals

Label: 12k

Cat No.: 12K1060

Format: CD

I remember saying in my review of Taylor’s Northern album that his key solo works don’t come along very often – well, to be fair there have actually been a fair few Deupree releases over the past few years, collaborative or otherwise. That doesn’t change the fact that a new full length on his own 12k imprint is a really special event and worthy of close attention.

Shoals gestation period has allowed it to take on a fascinating form of its own and the differences between Northern and this are tangible. Whereas Northern was part of his more accessible (if that’s the right word) period of organically-based, less overtly electronic releases Shoals takes a considerably less immediately melodic approach to the compositions.

I have to say that for me this is, along with Stil, my favourite full length album by Deupree. Sometimes you just know when something is right and here he’s combined the almost static drone feel of Stil with the layers and perfectly captured imperfections of Northern’s more earthy sound.

The four pieces that make up Shoals should be considered one journey in my opinion. They each work together to create a captivating flow which holds the attention for the duration and with an immense palette of samples, instruments and recordings it’s never anything less than enchanting

There’s still a natural sense of melody here, don’t get me wrong, but it’s blended with a background feel that seems to find a tone or texture and hold it, allowing the overlaid sounds to provide most of the movement and structure. The title track is a beautiful example of that as it remains focused for 12 minutes while providing a sparkling array of incidental tones and feelings to shine through the mix – bells, electronic drips and drops, subtle guitar strums and field recordings. This style really does form the basis for the whole album apart from the second track which has a sound that harks back much more to Northern with its light and hypnotic acoustic guitar refrain and plenty of found sounds.

It’s all about the tension between the real and the unreal as the forces of electronic processing collide with warm, human sounding textures, undeniably pretty moments and yet an undertone of barely disguised experimentalism. That’s why it’s such a surprisingly dynamic album to listen to – although you’d no doubt call it electronic minimalism in some ways, it’s actually full to brimming with exciting flavours of sound that can be enjoyed over and over with each additional listen adding new layers of understanding.

Created and produced with an incredible ear for detail, Taylor Deupree’s Shoals is a real feast for the ears and another indispensable addition to your music collection without a shadow of a doubt. Quite superb.

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Taylor Deupree – Snow (Dusk, Dawn) – 12k

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Organic by remotethoughts on May 25, 2010

Taylor Deupree - Snow (Dusk, Dawn) - 12k

Artist: Taylor Deupree

Title: Snow (Dusk, Dawn)

Label: 12k

Cat No.: 12K2016

Format: 3″ CD – Edition of 63 copies

Taylor Deupree’s latest release in the limited 12k offshoot series is a beautiful work, both aurally and visually, that never gets bogged down in the intricacies of being too conceptual. The premise is simple – using expired Polaroid film he took a series of 63 photographs then swiftly scanned them at different stages of decay before they faded completely to black. Each copy of the album comes with these prints as well as the original Polaroid so every single edition is unique.

The idea of being transient is particularly pertinent as Deupree’s love and study of nature have an obvious link to the idea of change. As ever the music that accompanies these images is deep, delightfully melodic and full of a natural sounding warmth.

Snow (Dusk, Dawn) concerns itself with gentle movement and layering of sounds that shift almost imperceptibly throughout, yet have a steady flow which is rooted (and I use that term deliberately) to the underlying sounds. Much like nature itself there’s an ever present sense of something being there, even if it’s only glimpsed occasionally or at certain times.

Using analogue and digital sources the friendly ambience here is never anything less than beautiful and his uncanny grasp of melodic texture and depth shines through the entire 18 minute piece.

Although a relatively expensive work I think it’s something that’s more than worth seeking out bearing in mind the love and time which has gone into its production. If you can find a copy I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll find it to be one of his most gorgeous low-key works.

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