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Barn Owl: Shadowland

img  Tobias Fischer

You're drawn in straight away. Just a few bars into the organ ostinatos running through „void and devotion“ and the music's already swallowed you whole. And it will take the full 24 minutes of this 3-track EP spinning at 45 rpm until you're released from its seductive pull again.

Every single guitar- and keyboard-sound on Shadowland, recorded by Barn Owl in conjunction with Trans Am's Phil Manley, has been shaped by the unique characteristics of  tube amplifiers – a strategy which bathes the entire record in a warm, corporeal light. Already the aforementioned opener benefits from the hypnotic power of statics and compaction, promises a climax which will never come – but which you'll nonetheless keep expecting even when the piece is already breathing its last tones. Shadowland's title track is an obvious companion to „void and devotion“ in terms of structure, harmony and gestures, an intricately curled-up piano / guitar-arpeggio. Its effect, meanwhile, is of an equally alluring subversiveness, mainly thanks to its intriguing friction with a downwardly bound, almost fatefully yearning guitar motif manifesting itself in the closing third of the piece.

Closing composition „Infinite Reach“, on the other hand, is free from its predecessors' claustrophobic intimacy, shifting floating chords into a state between relief and distrust, always lasciviously suggesting the force of an explosion. In in its final stages, Barn Owl add a few lost dots, as though they were departing with a wink … perhaps.

By Hellmut Neidhardt

Shadowland by Barn Owl will be officially released on Thrill Jockey on June 21st.

Homepage: Barn Owl
Homepage: Thrill Jockey Records

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