1 Mile North | Colophon | The Wind-Up Bird
Over the course of the past couple years, the Music Fellowship label has released a series of triptych releases in which three different (usually somewhat like-minded) artists contribute music towards one full-length releases. Past efforts have included everyone from space rockers Surface of Eceyon and Kinski to the ambient noodlings of Rothko and Yellow6. For the third in the series, the label turned to 3 more artists who lean to the side of ambient/drone soundscapes, and the result is an hourlong album of music that all seems to fit together just so.
I made no secret of my love for Minor Shadows by One Mile North, and that group leads off the release with 3 tracks that are more varied than the work on their most recent release, but still work pretty well. "East Coast Harbor" opens things with soft synth pulses and a spare, dry guitar melody that sounds almost Morricone-esque while "Ashes And Dust" strips things down to more synth washes and some spare piano notes. After a final 1 Mile North track, Colophon (Jefre Cantu-Ledesma of Tarentel) drops three tracks that toy with variations on loop-based music that sounds miles from his work with his other group. "Watching Josi Die" is a short piece of heavily-filtered piano that sounds like it's about to be crushed from compression while "Texas Heat" draws a filtered organ loop out to over 10 minutes of soft ellegance.
The best music of the release, however, comes from The Wind-Up Bird, who seem to be continuing right where they left off with their last release of Whips. The group continues four tracks that are each comprised of only two instruments or elements, yet the pieces all feel complete and well composed. "Violin & Trumpet" is the first track, and the violin is layered to sound like a quartet while the trumpet appears only as a fluttering, filtered element that drops in for punctuation. "Voice & Sine Wave" is the most unique of the contributions as everything is run through electronic filters leaving a track that flickers quietly around the edges but is still quite lovely. "Guitar & Bass" closes out the series of tracks and again sounds very little like the original elements as both instruments are so processed that only a haunting crescendo of sound remains. It's easily one of the best tracks on the entire release, and yet another great track from a group who seems to delight in pushing the extremes of their instrumentation with digital processing. If you haven't heard work by any of the three contributing artists, it might not be the best place to start, as it seems to focus even more on their stripped-down sides, but there is still some great work on the release for fans of any of them (or anyone who enjoys ambient music in general).