Review of New Tallest Man On Earth Album

Today, DJ Colonial Donut has whipped up a fresh review of The Tallest Man On Earth‘s latest album, The Dark Bird is Home. While this isn’t the lo-fi goodness you may be familiar with, it may turn out to be something you like even better. Scroll on to find out why.

da91e562

The Tallest Man On Earth

The Dark Bird Is Home

             Modern Folk Hero Kristian Matsson, aka The Tallest Man On Earth (ironically 5’7”) delivers a familiar sound with his fourth studio album, The Dark Bird Is Home. His melancholy lyricism accompanied by simple saccharin acoustic guitar is reminiscent of older folk stars such as Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens. But where Bob Dylan’s departure from fully acoustic music was abrupt and ground breaking, Matsson’s is much more subtle.

I should note that this is not the same Lo-fi folk that listeners of The Tallest Man On Earth fell in love with. Indeed this is a high production value, at times poppy sounding album with overdubbing and multiple instruments. What remains from previous releases is the unique vocals, which to me makes this album absolutely worth a listen.

The Dark Bird Is Home begins with soft, sad melodies, such as on “Fields of Our Home” in which he croons about a distant love. There are hints of accordion chords, possibly organ, just beneath the surface, and even some electro synth accompaniment if you listen close enough. It is a precursor to the complexity of lyric and composition paired perfectly to create the simple, minimalistic sounds which define this album.

As it progresses, the mood picks up, and the energy behind the instrumentation ebbs and flows. “Slow Dance” has a certain swing to it that encourages at least the tapping of fingers on a steering wheel. Although he hails from Sweden, Matsson has created the ideal Americana road trip soundtrack.

For me the peak of the album is the song “Timothy” which is a complete 180 from his previous albums. It’s a new alternative sound that I wouldn’t have expected coming from The Tallest Man On Earth, but it still has the same impact as any other song on the album. The unique accompaniment of oboe and percussion creates an almost modern pop feeling. It certainly exhibits the wide range in compositional talent that Matsson possesses, and in that sense this album stands alone as a culmination of his musical career.

Gabriel Dufurrena

DJ Colonial Donuts of Baker’s Dozens

DJ Daniel’s Review of Sintetizzatrice

DJ Daniel is back for round 2 this week, and is leaving you with a fresh review of Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy’s Sintetizzatrice.

SP038-350

Donato Dozzy’s become the closest thing ambient techno has to a star in the wake of Voices From The Lake, his brilliant collaboration with fellow Italian ambient producer Neel, and his 2013 remix album Plays Bee Mask. The expectations for his collaboration with vocalist Anna Carragnano were appropriately astronomical. But Sintetizzatrice, their 9-track mini-album together, confounds expectations of both a Dozzy record and a producer-vocalist collaboration. For that alone it’s great, but there’s some pretty solid ambient music on this thing–though nothing anywhere close to those prior two albums.

The first question on a lot of people’s minds will be “where’s Dozzy?” His distinctive, burbling productions are nowhere in sight, just layers of reverb-soaked voices humming, whistling, chanting, intoning, and occasionally making a loud “dummmm.” This is Caragnano; Dozzy’s taken on the role of an unseen deity in rearranging and editing her vocals to fit his image. Thus, we get an approximation of techno, conveyed through the most organic instrument there is: the human voice.

It’s a subversive record, in no small part because the vocalist carries ninety percent of the burden. Though there’s too much digital trickery to just be a Caragnano solo joint, it’s really her record–which is refreshing given the hegemony male producers often hold over their female vocal collaborators and exploit aesthetically. It’s also a drastic left turn for Dozzy. In the months leading up to its release, ambient fans had no reason to not expect an album of Dozzy’s productions beneath Caragnano’s voice. That it’s not–especially given the stature of Voices From The Lake, which is basically the To Pimp A Butterfly of ambient techno–almost felt like a slap in the face at first.

But I doubt these were Dozzy’s intentions. This is first and foremost a collaboration between friends, an unambitious pet project, and making it must have been as easy as listening to it. Though Sintetizzatrice might underwhelm due to its 24-minute length and short track times, its length is nonetheless refreshing in that it’s an easy album to listen to in full while traveling to point A to point B. This is as casual as ambient gets, and though it’s by no means the year’s most impressive album, it might be the one I end up listening to the most.

 Daniel Bromfield
DJ Daniel of Ambience!