Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson
Spotlight 7

Cam Butler
Erdem Helvacioglu
Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson
Justin Martin
Minus Pilots
Michael Mizrahi
Montgomery / Curgenven
Motion Sickness T. Travel
Neu Gestalt
Nothing But Noise
Olan Mill
Daphne Oram
Palestine & Schaefer
Principles Of Geometry
Pietro Riparbelli
Session Victim
Sparkling Wide Pressure
Trouble Books
Clive Wright

Compilations / Mixes
Maya Jane Coles
In The Dark
Lost in the Humming Air

Alphabets Heaven
Stefan Goldmann
Köln 1
Rivers Home 2
Sleeps In Oysters
Towards Green

Minus Pilots: Hitting Up The Heavens
Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Minus Pilots' refreshingly unpretentious approach to recording is exemplified by a tiny liner note that reads: “The crackle present on our recording is due, in the main, to the use of various analogue delay pedals, old basses, our broken four-track cassette tape recorder, and most notably our incompetence.” There's precious little po-faced posturing on Hitting Up The Heavens, in other words.

The album presents a modest thirty-six minutes of crackle-soaked mood-pieces built from micro-guitar slivers, ambient bass hum, and textural shadings. Many of the pieces are unassuming vignettes (three of the thirteen tracks just exceed the one-minute mark) that played at a low volume would blend with the environment and subliminally tint one's mood in a positive direction. Representative tracks such as “Into The Void” and “Fall From Your Stars” feature mini-clusters of chiming guitar patterns warped by woozy tape manipulations. There's a sometimes emotional quality to the material, too, if one subtly conveyed. “Dust Storm Zero,” for example, presents its fragile lattices so delicately, one can't help but find the material affecting. Listening to the album produces a relaxing and at times wistful effect akin to sitting inside on a lazy afternoon watching the drizzle of raindrops on the mist-covered windows. Being relatively subdued by nature, the music begins to feel like an intimate conversation conducted with the listener, and consequently one is pulled into the material's spidery web.

Not much info is available as to who or what Minus Pilots is—the ‘about' section at its site lists “sparse bass, delay, delay, delay, delay, delay, delay, gentle crackle...” by way of identification—but such self-effacement feels right given the music's understated character. One final note (it's at both the site and on the CD sleeve) bears worth mentioning, too, as it nicely encapsulates the Minus Pilots aesthetic: “All of our recordings are designed for listening through headphones while gazing at the stars.” The words say much about the sense of calm that sets in as one listens to the group's minimalistic music.

May 2012