_____________________________________________(Balam Acab - See Birds - 2010)
...slow, syrupy and hallucinogenic. This is fantastic chill-out music and it's gorgeous. Amazingly, it was created solely from samples collected from the Internet by a 19-year-old named Alec Koone. It's more interesting and flat-out better than most of the "Witch House" it's associated with, one of the labels that's cropped up to define this recent musical trend. I'm not big on labels, but in an effort to describe this music, it can be viewed as a sub-class of "chillwave." One could argue that it has its roots in "trip-hop" (slowed-down hip-hop, more sensual and atmospheric) which it certainly resembles although it's less beat driven with more emphasis on tonalilty and ambiance. It's often characterized by distant, ghostly vocals, spoken or sung, with incoherent words. But it's not really fair to label Balam Acab and lump it in with this so-called genre because it really stands as its own thing. It's absolutely wonderful.
"Sea Birds (Moon)" - dubby, full of echos and trippy aural caverns and a mysterious, pulsing rhythm. Distant, ethereal, heavily reverbed vocals sound like they're floating down a dark tunnel. Very hypnotic and a little spooky.
"Regret Making Mistakes" - Opens with a strange, backwoods atmosphere featuring a sampled banjo, quiet and slow, and the rocking of a porch swing before a humming, monolithic synth pulse emerges. Contains qualities similar to the first track but with gently swirling notes, heavenly peaks and a brighter atmosphere.
"Big Boy" - lush and hypnotic. The high-pitched, cavernous vocals are hazy and beautiful. Particularly great are the clipped injections of flowing water that help propel the rhythm. Amazing.
"Dream Out" - As the ep grows progressively lighter in tone it culminates in this ethereal wonderland of flowing harps, chattering cicadas and gorgeous undulations of bliss.
"Sea Birds (Sun)" - a reinterpretation of the first track after being submerged into this watery, welcoming heaven full of wondrous sounds, percolating beats and feel-good vibes.
Not Julee Cruise doing drugs, mind you, but what listening to Julee Cruise Floating Into the Night on drugs sounds like. That's a high compliment.
Everything is slowed down, like taking a 45 RPM record and turning it down to 33 1/3 RPM and putting it underwater.
This seems to fall under the genre of "hauntology" (everything has a label...), that sound that isn't necessarily haunting, as in scary, but haunting, as referring to a culture (think of the "pop" sound to be found in your parents/grandparents old vinyl from the 50s or older) that doesn't really die and has a way of revisting us in the present.
There is a feeling that we are taking a trip back into a rainy, black and white noir film but with a much better beat.
The only thing I can vaguely think of to place the mood is Jack Nicholson's scene in the bar in The Shining [Blu-ray]. It's that trippy, druggy mood with the "haunting" music playing in the background.
The vinyl has been sold out after two pressings so Balam Acab's 'See Birds' has only been available via digital downloads until now ... the CD has been released!! Amazon.com and Triangle Records, please make this Balam Acab CD available. Love your site ... not tax and free shipping!