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Jan 14, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Portishead’s Geoff Barrow joined with fellow Bristol musicians Billy Fuller and Matt Williams in January 2009 to create a disciplined soundscape called Beak>. Throughout the twelve songs (recorded live in one room with no overdubs in 12 days), the musicians pay homage to Can and Krautrock with indulgent jams that might try the patience of unadventurous listeners. After a trio of sullenly downtrodden tracks with the appropriate names “Blackwell,” “Pill,” and “Ham Green,” things pick up with the more jiggly and upbeat “I Know.” Overall, this material seems like it would kill if used as a soundtrack to a movie or TV show. “Battery Point” even sounds a little like Explosions in the Sky’s work on Friday Night Lights. But sometimes, the experimental nature of the album goes too far: Was the two-minute jarring noise of “Barrow Gurney” really necessary? The album’s sound is constantly harkening back to a different era, and it’s frequently surprising and refreshing to hear what comes around the dark corners created here. (

Author rating: 6/10

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