- Nathan Yoder
Album Review - A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North
Not a preview today, but a REview, and a spooky one at that! It's October first, which means Geographic North has released its third Halloween-themed compilation, and this one is a monster. You'll find 31 brand new tracks spread over four sides of two cassettes, including a prologue and epilogue by Oliver Coates and chapter introductions to each side by the GN House Band. To deconstruct in detail the two-plus hours of haunted sounds would be foolhardy, so here are some some standouts, broken down by acts.
Meitei's has had quite a week, and his Act One, side A contribution, Okue, captures the sound of a ranging walk, deep into the depths of a forest. Clarice Jensen closes out the first side with composition split into two distinct parts: the first centered around her signature cello, and the second dropping into eerie drone. Act One, side B contains the best music on the compilation, and it's hard to get it all down here. Malibu's Isle Of Us is not as sinister as other tracks, but her spare piano and ethereal vocals make it a favorite. Like a Villain (Holland Andrews) and Christina Vantzou combine forces on a beautifully vocal-driven, yet slightly unsettling interplay. And Lotus Plaza is back! Gossamer borders on anthemic, as Lockett Pundt's clear piano strikes and layered instrumentation builds to a crescendo. Glad he decided not to keep this spooky action at a distance (har har har). Ki Oni's fuzzy Dream World is another major-key outlier and favorite, woozy and warm.
There's plenty more to hear in Act Two! On Side A, Mary Lattimore and Paul Sukeena's Peach vaguely resembles something you would hear while walking through the English Village section of Oregon's strangest theme park. Immediately following, Danny Paul Grody contributes expert guitar work and chilling harmonic plucks on Elijah. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's ambient piano and trumpet collage is backed by wisps of field recordings. His song is titled For Mothers, so perhaps those are the voices featured? Nothing about Algiers floats in the background, as the group's up-front and angular Spooks closes side A out with an exclamation point. On the final side of Act Two, Tagaki Masakatsu's April 18 is another favorite track, feeling green and as springy as its title (hey, what season is it, anyway?). Finally, Oliver Coates' wavelike epilogue brings to mind a famous (and kinda creepy) Longfellow poem, carrying final sounds away on the tide.
There is so much more to be found on this autumnal surprise from Geographic North, but a last note worth mentioning is that all proceeds from digital and cassette sales will go directly to the Atlanta-based Feminist Women's Health Center. So go ahead and buy it here! In a year of few Halloween parties, you can blare it out of your open door while tossing candy to trick-or-treaters standing safely away on the sidewalk. Hear a sample blow.