Moustache Mountain / Forrest / Ontayso: Anyteazers / Swepstone Songs / Dune

Previously issued on the I, Absentee imprint in an extremely limited capacity (twenty-five copies in a three-inch format), the joint Moustache Mountain and Forrest release was deemed deserving of wider distribution by U-cover, hence the reissue which is now supplemented by a fifteen-minute Ontayso track.

Moustache Mountain is the name under which guitarist Mike Tolan issues solo ambient-experimental pieces, of which two are included here. The first is the very nice if short “My Life is a Boring CSI,” in essence three minutes of slow-burning, guitar-generated tendrils; the second “Infiniteazerz” finds Tolan overlapping peaceful, harmonium-like tones for thirteen minutes to hypnotic effect. Eventually soft bell tinkles emerge to offset the deep tones, intensifying the entrancing effect, and then multi-layered acoustic guitars join in towards the track's close. Tolan's delicate handling of transitions and flow leaves a strong impression, on the second piece especially.

The three pieces by Forrest (Ohio-based Warren Kroll) expand atmospherically on Tolan's pair with three dreamy, guitar-based dronescapes, each subtly different in character: “Quilted Pillows” opts for spectral ambiance; “The Basement Light” follows a spacey intro with reverb-drenched swathes that shimmer and waver like electrical wires; and “Figures (Fall of the Good Leader)” pushes the other tracks' haunted quality to an even deeper level when resonating waves overlap and bleed into one another.

U-cover's resident act Ontayso rounds out the release with “Dune,” fifteen minutes of ambient moodscaping in the group's trademark style. Dub-techno rhythms gradually appear to lend the slowly-unfurling piece heft and propulsion, while hammering pulsations simultaneously swell in volume and intensity. The piece's trajectory is relentlessly Bolero-like and uni-directional, making it fundamentally different in character from the more restrained Moustache Mountain and Forrest selections. Nevertheless, the release is a solid experimental ambient collection by three artists whose works are worth hearing.

December 2008