Friday, November 27, 2015

Balam Acab - "See Birds" (LP Review)

Balam Acab, aka Alec Koone, released his first EP, "See Birds", to critical acclaim in 2010 (for example, the Pitchfork review).  Herbert turned me on to this a few years ago and I had to get my own copy.  It's tempting to discount this EP because Koone wasn't an established artist (and arguably still isn't), but I have to give it my highest possible score because it was a shocking eye opener for me, sounding nothing like what I was used to.  Created with "found" (on the Internet) music samples, Koone creates a rich, subtle, and surprisingly warm sound.  I can't help but compare it to, say, "What Does Your Soul Look Like" ca. 1994.  Another stylistic comparison would be The Caretaker's "Persistent Repetition of Phrases", but with different source material.

Apparently the "new" sound of which he was a part earned the label "witch house", which was applied at least partially in jest.  I'm not going to argue for or against that label, but I will say this is a compelling new style of music that demands a listen.   Unfortunately, while his 2011 full length LP "Wander / Wonder" is good, it fails to continue the magic introduced on this EP. 

Standout songs: all:  See Birds (Moon), Regret Making Mistakes, Big Boy, Dream Out, See Birds (Sun); all five songs as a playlist

Skip 'em songs: none

Final score: 10/10

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