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4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 16, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

#84 Album of 2013 - The Quietus
13 Finest Ambient Albums of 2013 - Drowned in Sound
#130 Album of 2013- Louder Than War

Barn Owl has always specialized in devotional darkness, pushing desert rock into previously unexplored, murky territories. V marks a shift in approach for the duo of Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti. The pair augmented their arsenal of guitars and effects with an array of electronics, vastly expanding the album s sounds and textures. Special attention was given to implied rhythms nestled within dense slow building environments, giving the album a rhythmic presence, albeit one that is buried beneath intricate layers. Theirs is a ghostly rhythm, almost beyond reach.

For years, the duo experimented with the idea of doom dub and in some ways have finally realized that vision. In addition to dub, V is informed by musique concrete, library music, and minimal techno. The opener Void Redux begins with a spectral synthesizer coming in and out of focus, tracing a skeletal melodic line that is gradually enveloped by deep bass tones and flecks of static hiss. As the song progresses, the band creates a subtle rhythmic interplay between a drum machine and the decay of a delayed guitar, harkening back to the Black Ark. A significant evolution in the way Barn Owl construct their music is exemplified by the track The Opulent Decline . Originally a 30-minute improvisation, the final, 17-minute track was composed though editing and augmentation. Throughout the album the timbres and textures of each piece are constantly mutating, fluctuating with an anxious restlessness. For example, on the track The Long Shadow, the guitars chime forebodingly before melting into a blur of organ. Porras explains, It was our goal to harness the fluidity and unpredictability of improvisation within considered arrangements. Special care was taken to convey the ever-changing flow through each piece, a continually shifting set of colors and textures and atmospheres. Stasis is not an option.

Barn Owl recorded V with Phil Manley at LCR in their native San Francisco during the cold and foggy summer of 2012. Working with electronics allowed the duo more freedom to create the album layer by layer, designing each sound and each section individually. Porras and Caminiti utilized the huge timbral range of synthesizers to augment the already massive and vitally physical sounds they have achieved with guitars and effects. V is the most complex and diverse album by Barn Owl to date.

Review

The Long Shadow, our first taste of V, hits all the Barn Owl sweet spots: clean-toned guitars chime, reverberate,
and loop back to do it again; a cloud of delay-bleached organ hangs over the mix, coming back to Earth to slip a four chord progression into the murk; pedals click on and the guitar tone splinters into that overdriven howl we know and love. Something s new here, though: the mix is denser than previous Owl offerings. As more synth layers accumulate and absorb the duo s previously looped tones into one mammoth, pulsing swirl, these 5 minutes stretch into what feels like 15. --Tiny Mix Tapes

Barn Owl s portable ashram is a precious resource you can strap on a pair of headphones and find some space on a crowded train or a busy street to reflect. They encourage us to slow down, and find a little peace. --Redefine

Far from resting on their laurels, Barn Owl demonstrate a remarkable ear for the various forms and styles of modern music, and incorporate them expertly into their own aesthetic. --Dusted

Barn Owl s portable ashram is a precious resource you can strap on a pair of headphones and find some space on a crowded train or a busy street to reflect. They encourage us to slow down, and find a little peace. --Redefine

Far from resting on their laurels, Barn Owl demonstrate a remarkable ear for the various forms and styles of modern music, and incorporate them expertly into their own aesthetic. --Dusted

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 16, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B00BMEF8Q4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Barn Owl has been one of the most exciting groups in experimental music for the last several years. Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti have charted and explored the intersection between drifting desert rock and doom metal, but this album is a new direction. The group has incorporated more electronics than ever before into their set-up. The result is a brilliant dark-ambient dubbed-out gem. The band's sense of melody and ambience is heightened by these new tones, resulting in an excellent progression for the group. Doom dub!!!
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They've nailed another album. The switch in style to synths at the forefront is new, but perfect. It's different, but it's still Barn Owl, and it's still incredible.
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Barn Owl is an experimental duo that primarily uses guitars to create dark and ambient music.

At times the guitar is heavy: ethereal, translucent, pulsating, reminiscent of Sunn O)))'s vomit-inducing madness, at times that heaviness sweeps away into a ambient bliss with swirling, textural reverberation like Michio Kurihara's contributions to Boris' amazing "Cloud Chamber" record. Add to this a tendency to use sweeping trance-inducing 4 chord cadences and undistorted lyrical guitar layers, it brings the lighter-hearted post-rock to mind, such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Explosions in the Sky.

The point, of course, is not to accuse Barn Owl of a lack of originality, but this music is 1. Very guitar heavy and 2. Deeply entrenched in those artists' sounds and feels. Since putting out this album, Evan Caminiti has put out two amazing solo records that continue this trend. I love the discography, and I look to the music frequently as something to put on for calm, silent meditation, work, or art.
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