Christ.: Bike

Reverbaphon: Here Comes Everyone

Jakob Skøtt, Rasmus Rasmussen, Jonas Munk: September

Though Jonas Munk is a key contributor to September, its fifty minutes sound nothing like his Manual output. Instead, Munk and co-conspirators Jakob Skøtt (Syntaks) and Rasmus Rasmussen (Aerosol) generate long-form tracks that have more in common with krautrock than epic shoegaze. The release grew out of an invitation the three received to play at the Phono Festival in Odense which, in turn, prompted them to prepare entirely new material; the September 2006 rehearsals for the performance and the live set itself serve as source material for the resultant album. Using loose sketches as guide, the three collectively improvised the material, so the fact that there's a rather loose and explorative feel to the material doesn't surprise—which isn't meant as a criticism, incidentally. Old-style drum machines sometimes appear too, further strengthening the connection to ‘70s krautrock.

A quintessential slow-burner, “Zenith” intensifies in volume throughout its thirteen minutes, with guitars growing increasingly psychedelic, and accelerates correspondingly, too, with its tempo becoming ever more dizzying as it moves towards its close. Though September includes six tracks only, there's ample stylistic range, with spacey soundscapes (“Redshift”) rubbing shoulders with raging blazers (“September in Silver”). The epic closer “September in Blue” brings the album closer in spirit to the systems-based music of early classical minimalism, as hazy guitar and repetitive organ patterns spiral hypnotically for nearly twenty-five minutes until the piece—much like a prototypical Steve Reich composition—subtly intensifies as it reaches its end.

Bike, Christ.'s EP follow-up to last year's Blue Shift Emissions, is a breezy, high-spirited set that sounds pretty much like what one would expect: five dreamily flowing, densely-detailed tracks teeming with enough jubilant beats, billowing synths, and shimmering melodies to tide your local Boards of Canada fanatic over until Christ.'s next full-length is released. With their blissful synth washes and speaking voice samples, “Glenbrook” and “Gresham Flyer Dreams” closely replicate the BoC template while the other three generally veer off into Christ.'s own lush universe, with the opener “Round the Rigg” especially lovely.

Finally, Reverbaphon (Glaswegian Paul Smith) follows his own debut full-length Our Heart Beats With Joy (The Curved World Outside) with Here Comes Everyone, a spacious and open-ended foray into organic avant-folk (occasionally tending towards psych-folk) that encompasses multiple styles without committing itself too pointedly to any single one. Often feeling like a peyote-fueled trip through spacious African plains, Smith's bedroom-styled electroacoustic settings merge acoustic and scalded electric guitars with atmospheric electronic patterns, harmonica, kalimbas, electric piano, and occasional beats resulting in music that exudes an earthy feel reminiscent in spirit of kranky's Boduf Songs. Occasionally the mood is agitated (“Lapsed Catalyst”) but, more often than not, ruminative (“Here Comes Everyone,” the guitars-only coda “Space Ship Earth”). The album's more memorable pieces include “The Existential Sheriff,” a free-flowing, impov-styled smattering of electric guitar drones and flailing drums, and “Ainu Waulking Song” [sic], quite literally a walking song or perhaps more precisely a jaunty shuffle. Representative of Here Comes Everyone's style is “Sea Minor Grave,” where bluesy guitars and a wheezing harmonica roll along a tabla-laden path before coming upon a mirage of elegant string playing, making one feel like one's entrapped within a hallucination caused by too many hours spent drifting through the sun-baked outback.

November 2007