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Hands And Knees Music

Sparrow Orange
Hands And Knees Music
(Noise Factory Records)

Another in a long line of lesser-known artists creating great music, Sparrow Orange is the pseudonym for Aaron Booth. Mixing together an entire smorgasboard of musical genres into a fairly cohesive batch, Hands And Knees Music takes the listener on a journey through everything from haunting ambient to glitchy post-rock. It's a remarkably assured and satisfying 70+ minutes of sound, and like many other releases on the Noise Factory Records label, it's best suited for late night listening.

After the shorter oddball track of "Old Can Truck," the disc takes off nicely with "To The Sea." A repetitive bassline melody plays out over a twinkling bed of chimes before some soft synth sweeps and a thicker, wobbling bassline slowly rise in the mix. Eventually, an off-kilter, chunky beat starts chugging along, and the fluid elements all sort of slide over one another amorphously. One of the best tracks on the entire album arrives in "I Remember It All." Again mixing some subtle synth layers with a sort of non-abrasive clanging melody, the track layers some almost toybox chimes and more pretty layers before a pulsing beat comes in behind it all and the track chugs away into la-la land. Occasionally, underlying sheets of white noise threaten to overtake the whole thing, but it turns back just in time.

Following it with a distorted string melody and some warped horns, "I Remember It All" again changes the album direction ever-so-slightly. Loping along with sort of a clunky trip-hop beat, the track slowly adds and sheds layers, turning into another twinkling clip hop stew. Many of the tracks on the disc hang their hat on almost impossibly light and airy chimey melodies, and the songs then hinge on some sort of contrast offering to that. "The Gasoline Sunrise" starts out like an old-school Warp Records track, but is soon piled thick with another twisted melody, some glitchy programming, and a rather thick beat. Likewise, "Rus'Ti-Ca'Tion" mixes a stuttering sonar ping with quiet waves of feedback, before the whole thing delays out into next week while some warm beats fill in the backbone.

Then again, "Liquid Sky" takes off with absolutely gorgeous, unveiling sheets of sound before some squeaky beats and what sounds like a guitar being played underwater fill the rest of the ambience out nicely. Another interesting thing about the release is that nearly all the sounds on the release are just slightly off what you'd expect. While there are a lot of keyboards used, there are also drums and guitars, but the sound of those 'organic' instruments are changed somewhat, rendering them something slightly new. Likewise, the album itself has a feel that is familiar, yet it moves on a slightly different path than just about anything else out there. Imagine a more organic sounding Boards Of Canada without all the samples of children, or perhaps a vocal-less version of Múm mixed with a pinch of Tortoise. It's true, I'm grasping a bit in my comparisons, but this is a very good album regardless.

Rating: 7.25