Want to do something good in the new year ~ to make a difference, and in so doing, receive some lovely music? Do you have a dollar? We know how to put it to good use. AMULETS’ new EP is part of the Malindza Refugee Camp Library project run by Ryan Hall of Heligator Records. It’s been a while since we checked in, but the project is still going strong. Only a year ago, a couple children were killed in a fire, but the latest update is more positive, as the library (which last year served as a spillover location for the refugee camp) has just added shelves and lighting.
The most creative funding source for the library is a series of donated singles and EPs (now up to #26!). These are often too short to review, but the latest entry is just perfect. Sierra Highs is a 13-minute track that’s all shimmer and shine, an aural reflection of sun on desert snow. A light Midwestern tone graces the piece, thanks to the guitar work of Austin’s Randall Taylor. His meditative melodic lines are laid across a bed of drones and loops, which feature a bit of static, a bit of reverb, and a whole lot of build. Four minutes into the piece, a new drone line takes the piece to a higher level, and is soon joined by an even brighter guitar. By the end, one feels as if one has ascended a mountain without any exertion. It’s the perfect piece for a brief meditation: musing about the new year, the passage of time, the distance traveled and the distance still to come. If the peace it produces results in even a little bit of human kindness, then all the better. Our best to Hall and the continuing efforts of the Malindza Refugee Camp in 2016 and beyond. (Richard Allen)