The otherworld that the eyes are led to expect from the cover is a cut-and-paste collage, a jagged scrapbook of sound. But the otherworld that the ears hear is gentle, guitar-laden, spiced with repetition and reverb. If given a choice between the four photos on the cover, I’d have chosen the shot at the top left, which matches the old typewriter font: a dry, rusted place where industry destroys the natural environment. Dirt, metal flecks, telephone poles in the shape of crosses: these are apt images for the music found within.
First impressions are important. A cover can lead a person to listen or turn away, just as a sentence can lead a person to read a review or skip it. The opening track is twinkly and pleasant, but provides no immediate allure. But the second draws the listener in, and the third cements the deal. The key difference is how repetition is used. Even though the background changes in “Otherworld”, the guitar motif stays the same. But “Boulders Theme” introduces more immediate effects, and no single element dominates the mix. It takes a few minutes for the primary notes to be established, but they remain unobtrusive, exchanging pleasantries with various chords and percussions. By the halfway point of the 12-minute track, a pastoral peace has set in, which is extended even as the guitar grows more active. “Cove” closes the set by playing with expectations; it’s more experimental and impressionistic, anchored by a slightly dissonant melody but highlighted by dissolving sounds; the stretch from 2:35 to 2:57 is the EP’s most striking.
Presentation is key. Our advice for the next release is simple: make everything match (title, cover, and music) and open strong. Greater recognition is only a few tweaks away. (Richard Allen)