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White Wilderness

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The newest entry into John Vanderslice's deep and undeniably remarkable catalog is White Wilderness, and it's a record like no other he's made before. Here are nine new and wildly impressive JV songs captured live over three days in a unique collaboration with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, a collective of classically trained musicians in the Bay Area led by artistic director Minna Choi. The Magik*Magik Orchestra have a comprehensive mastery of classic performance and repertoire, but also have a full appreciation of the aesthetics of indie and underground music.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sea Salt
  2. Convict Lake
  3. White Wilderness
  4. The Piano Lesson
  5. After It Ends
  6. Overcoat
  7. Alemany Gap
  8. English Vines
  9. 20k


Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 25, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: DEAD OCEANS
  • ASIN: B004DK4AMM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,744 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This is a fantastic album - I have been listening to it and awaiting the release for months. However, I need to caution big JV fans before they jump on this to listen closely and play through all the samples. I'll immediately say that this should not be the first JV album you buy. Over the course of his career I always thought I loved his music mostly because of the songwriting, but hearing this made me realize how much his songs change when taken out of the context that his unbelievable production style provides. If you can get behind the orchestra's sound and the really unique way they arrange and interpret his work, go for it. This is a great batch of songs and a well executed album. I pull it out from time to time to change things up, but it remains one of his albums that I listen to less. I have to give this group and this release credit for a really cool perspective on his songs and successfully filling some pretty big shoes in terms of the sound that usually supports his songwriting.

I've just listened to it again and take back everything I said that wasn't totally positive. Buy it now and get a pretty cool cover as an Amazon bonus.

By the way, whether you like this album or not, look for a video of him performing "Too Much Time" with the Magik Magik orchestra. Incredible.
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Format: Audio CD
It took me maybe, I don't know, maybe all of 12 seconds to love White Wilderness, the eighth proper album from the analog-recording whiz from Portland, Oregon. Recorded with The Magik Magik Orchestra and arranged by Minna Choi, White is the by-far best produced (and most ambitious) Vanderslice record to date, sounding big and beautiful at every turn. While Vando has always been an interesting songwriter, producer and arranger, by working with Choi and the MMO, he's really stepped his game up, creating what is - in this writer's opinion - his by-far best ever record. Yeah, I'm gushing. This is a gusher sort of a record - the kind you e-mail friends about.

After self-releasing a stellar EP titled Green Grow the Rushes late last year, Vanderslice (who recently moved from the Seattle-based Barsuk Records to the Indiana-based Dead Oceans, most recently releasing 2009's great Romanian Names) decided to go for it all, quietly recording the endlessly grand (yet often fragile sounding) White while the indie world celebrated simple records by bands like Best Coast, Wavves and No Age. Now, still new label hoisting him high, he's crafted one of the best winter-season records I've heard since those early Badly Drawn Boy discs. While the mood here shifts around quite a bit, the vibe is always somber (and epic), most likely due to Vanderslice's vocal style (always the focus) and the consistent use of string arrangement and dramatic swells. If you're somehow not already familiar with this indie mainstay, think Andrew Bird, XTC, Beulah and, if your ears are more of the mainstream pedigree, Owl City (or so I'm told). All that said, this is very original music that is hard to compare to anything else out right now.
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Format: MP3 Music
Mr. Vanderslice does it again. Top-notch refreshing song writing as always. He has this great ability to give you a completely original song that is deceptively simple, yet very complex. For me the best part of his music is that it allows to breath. The other many fans of JV know what I'm talking about it. Now I want to see how he's going to pull of these great multi layered songs that were backed up by an accomplished and talented orchestra.
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