Quicksails: Mayville Dream
Quicksails' Mayville Dream possesses all of the earmarks of the typical Spectrum Spools release: it's heavily synthesizer-based and could be characterized as cosmic and sunblinded; and its nine tracks, their swirling skies dotted with blips and bloops, spread themselves across two easily digestible (temporally speaking) twelve-inch sides. The thirty-five-minute collection is the brainchild of Ben Billington, a Chicago resident and drummer-by-training who's made a name for himself playing in bands such as Moonrises, Circuit de Yeux, and Tiger Hatchery. Those familiar with 2012's Silver Balloons in Clusters, his debut album outing on Under the Spire (the vinyl presentation preceded by the material issued in cassette form on Deception Island in 2011), can expect to hear more of that set's tripped-out derangement on the sophomore effort.
Billington's drummer background serves him well on the album, which is as percussively dynamic as it is saturated on synthetic terms. “The Many Roads Towards Mayville” emerges from a liquid bath before shape-shifting into a spasmodic, tabla-laden explosion of mind-melting fire. “As High Above the Lightning” is as hyperactive, with keyboard patterns that slow down and speed up in almost out-of-control manner, while the organ-and-percussion-heavy “Dancing By Yourself” riffs on Billington's penchant for Eastern-styled frenzy. Less euphoric by comparison, “Institute's Innards” nonetheless carves out its own woozy terrain within the proggy cosmos, while metronomic sequencer patterns lend the voice-spattered wildness of “Bemus Has Wings to Fly” some measure of stability and sanity.
But in addition to the usual surplus of brain-addling dazzle, Mayville Dream includes some moments of unexpected restraint, and an acoustic instrument or two is even sometimes heard sneaking into an arrangement (e.g., piano in “Institute's Innards” and acoustic drums and cymbals on “Closer to Towanda”). Presented at more meditative tempos, “Only Escape” and “Night Bats” offer respites from the overloaded intensity of the busier pieces without compromising on the album's psychedelic style. Nevertheless, the album very comfortably matches the Spectrum Spools template.