Voxxov Records’ second free download compilation exposes the other half of the new label’s potential roster, packed with our favorite artists in the fields of ambient, drone and modern composition. It’s almost like a who’s who of A Closer Listen!
I did say “free”, didn’t I? Okay, if that isn’t enough to entice some reluctant readers, how’d this for a lineup: Strïe, Nebulo, Hakobune, Field Rotation, Fabio Orsi, Wil Bolton, Spheruleus, Damian Valles, James Murray, Teho Teardo, Quinn Walker, M. Ostermeier, Maps & Diagrams, William Ryan Fritch. You’re either going to get it or you won’t, and I doubt anything I write will change your mind if you’re just one of those people who prefers to cross your arms and mumble *hmpff* when given the chance to get great music for free.
The following facts are still worth adding. First and foremost, none of the above artists mails it in. This compilation covers a smaller cross-genre splice than Voxxov’s Fall Is a House of Gold and Rain, and as such is more likely to warrant fully-sequenced plays. M. Ostermeier begins with the piano and field recordings of “Flying South”, again easing us into the album – a feature that will serve Voxxov well on future releases. The rest of the album unfolds like a lovely mix tape, with each track building on, and enhancing, the one before. “Faith in a wet season” is a beautiful phrase, implying an ability to recall a seemingly-absent sun; and as this album progresses, one begins to gain a similar impression. It’s raining outside the house, but the sun is shining inside the speakers.
While the album flows together without a single jarring note, nestling similar sounds against each other’s hips, a few pieces do manage to stand out. It’s important to note that “standing out” means a little less here than on other albums, since everything on this release is effective. The always reliable Strïe turns in a haunting, mood-driven stunner with “Latent Hours”, conjuring images of the life that teems beneath a fallen leaf; as our Modern Composition Artist of the Year, we expected no less from her. A mournful vibe inhabits Teho Teardo’s string-laden “Several Tree Huggers were found Dead”; it’s hard to believe that this is the same guy who helped to found Meathead. A similar sorrow is found in Field Rotation’s “Continuum”, an extension of the artist’s already evocative discography.
Voxxov’s potential roster now seems to be set; the wagers can now be made as to which artists will receive the deluxe treatment. With a lineup nearly as wide as that of our own site (Where’s the post-rock? Just kidding!), we look forward to hearing whatever the label has in store. (Richard Allen)