Music Review: Mountains “Centralia”

by Douglas Cowie on 30 January 2013

CentraliaMountains Centralia Thrill Jockey

On “Centralia” Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg use both synthesized and acoustic instruments to create soundscapes that simultaneously convey expansiveness and intimacy. So on the opening track, the eleven and a half minute “Sand”, the long notes of cellos combine with tiptoeing and scuttling electronics to create first a sense of a living beach—crabs and insects busy in the surf—but then a gentle rippling into the water, and across the surface toward the horizon. Across the album, patterns emerge and dissipate, or announce themselves only to transform in slight but noticeable, and sometimes just a little jarring, ways. What works particularly effectively here is that the electronic and acoustic sounds are always distinct from one another—there’s no processing of the acoustics through the electronics—and yet they talk to each other, and hold one another in fine balance. The result is music that asks you to become still before it, to listen to all these separate sounds holding themselves together, and propelling themselves, here steadily, here gently, here urgently, here with a swagger, through the space between you and the needle riding the grooves of the record.

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