Air Museum

Thrill Jockey

May 27, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Had Phil Spector produced electronic music rather than pop singles he would have struggled to top the densely layered constructions wrought by the Brooklyn duo Mountains. For Air Museum, their sixth release, Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp shift their directions in melding acoustic instruments with electronic possibilities by using various pedals and synths, rather than a computer, to process the sounds of a wide range of instruments.

The opening track, "January 17," nicely sets the stage. The strains of a lone organ soon give way to a gradually unfolding aural cascade, with new instruments seemingly introduced every few seconds. Processed strings and accordion form the bloodstream through a corner-to-corner web of buzzing, fizzing streaks, culminating in a warm, celestial swell.

To be clear, while acoustic instruments were used in its making, Air Museum is a vividly electronic creation, with "Thousand Square" and "Sequel" playing like layered sonic experiments that could have just as easily been fashioned by '70s keyboard pioneers as by anyone these days. But Anderegg and Holtkamp have a gift for crafting beauty at the heart of the flutter, and Air Museum draws a listener in like a moth to a remarkably realistic likeness of a flame. (

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