Exclusive Daily Download: "Sun Trolley," Town and Country

An exclusive download of instrumental music that revels in the joy of pure sound

Salon Staff
May 12, 2006 12:01PM (UTC)

After four albums and an EP of austere instrumental music, with a sound heavily influenced by Morton Feldman and John Fahey but becoming increasingly complex, antiseptic and, to my ears, uninteresting over the years, Chicago quartet Town and Country have taken a sharp turn for their fifth full-length, "Up Above," directly inspired by a tour with legendary drone minimalist Tony Conrad. The result is their best album since their earliest work, without a trace of the stiff, arid style they were beginning to develop, and full of a renewed joy in pure sound and the spaces it creates. The looseness of the recording, along with a host of Asian instruments the band has added to its arsenal, leads to a few moments that come close to aimless, artsy drum circle territory, but the pieces with a bit of structure work beautifully: "Sun Trolley" opens with cacophonous drones that dissolve into a beautiful solo viola (closer to Appalachian music than to Tony Conrad), which in turn is swallowed by a busy host of buzzing jew's-harps, bells and mbiras.

-- T.B.

Salon Staff

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