Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Boxhead Ensemble - "Dutch Harbor - Where The Sea Breaks" soundtrack CD

Comprised of members of various Chicago-area indie acts, this loose ensemble was formed by Michael Krassner in 1996 to record this soundtrack, but the revolving group has gone on to release several recordings since. This 1997 album (recently reissued) is a low-key set of musical vignettes that offer a moody and textural slice of atmosphere, mostly with a sort of gloomy or sad, introspective direction. I haven't seen the film, but apparently, it's not a romantic comedy! Anyhow, the group here includes contributions from notables like David Grubbs (Gastr del Sol), Doug McCombs (Eleventh Dream Day, Tortoise), Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth, Illusion Of Safety), David Pavkovic (Tortoise), jazzist Ken Vandermark, and even the mighty Will Oldham (on the album's only vocal take, the stark 'Ebb's Folly'). Really, this is a fairly ambient take on rock overall, with secluded piano melodies and generally inobtrusive tracks that wax and wane. It's not especially memorable, but certainly not a bad mix of improv, indie rock, and perhaps some experimental flourishes here and there. Me likes, but I don't see it getting a lot of replay around Goatsend HQ. (Atavistic)

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