Aquarius Records

Review of original Music Fellowship CD version of 'Matanuska'

First proper actual cd full length from this blissy UK free folk crew, after a clutch of (now out of print) cd-r's and a collaborative disc with the North Sea. Matanuska begins as a gloriously blissful late afternoon, sunshiney slab of fuzzy, buzzy, muted pop ambience, sparkling and glimmering, there are guitars, but they aren't plucked or strummed so much as spread like a thick glaze over the speakers. Within this gorgeous sun dappled soundfield, are tangled up bits of found sounds, distant ringing bells, rumbling thunder, as well as subtle layers of drone and shimmer adding mystery and depth to each track.

The rest of the record however is not so sunshiney, the mood is much more dark and shadowy, lit by moonlight, rumbles and whirs swirled into lush late night crawls, acoustic guitars draped over slow serene swells of sound, the buzz of steel strings muted and drawn out into simple shimmering ragas, the vibe is definitely sorrowful, melancholy, with minor key melodies drifting through intricate webs of abstract Appalachia, wheezing layered drones spread out like a late afternoon fog, amidst chirping birds and distant bits of conversation, a slowly shifting bit of minimal dreamdrone that brightens subtly as it works its way though the disc.

The record finishes up with the sun peeking out from behind the clouds, like that glorious first day of Spring, the birds once again singing, the shimmering sounds soaking up the sunlight, a drifting drone, warm and glowing, a hopeful dreamy sound that blossoms like a flower after a rainstorm, the hushed buzz growing fuzzier and fuzzier, almost like a fading memory. So nice.


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