Spool - Self-Titled
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Spool
Self-Titled
(NEWdOG)

Finding this album by a group that I'd never heard of before in my life, the fact was re-affirmed to me that there's tons of great music out there that I'll never even have the chance to hear. The same case would have been for this album had I not found the cover art interesting enough to warrant a listen. After only a couple minutes of the opening track (I have sort of a knack of knowing whether I'll like something based on only little snippets from a disc), I knew that it would be something I'd like. Comprised of two full-time members and a number of other contributors, the group draws its influences from several different places, but the output on the disc is one that manages to keep sort of a similar theme throughout.

As I mentioned before, the opening track on the disc is the one that still moves me the most. Nearly a fifteen minute number, "Ebo" starts out very slowly with some ocassional drums and a very subtle drone of guitar feedback that slowly undulates along. After awhile, some electronic drums find their way into the mix and a semi-funky bassline drops in. Add to that delicate washes of synth and some almost choir voices and the track is a winner. Not only does it never bore, but the drone/ambient/dub style and slow progression of the track just keep drawing you in deeper and deeper. The second track "Algo" is a loungy, ambient number replete with old school keyboard sounds and percussion that sounds like it's coming from underwater somewhere. The third track "Joni" shows its dub roots even more with a tubby bassline, but still keeps things interesting by adding a swirling, haunting drone in the background and some strange, crackling static-like bits (that don't sound unlike Pole from the CD1 release). Going into a little more organic territory (that they then continue throughout the rest of the release), the group starts out the very next track with some nicely juxtaposed hand-clapping on "All." It eventually morphs into another sort of loungy track before the short filler track of "Yin."

For the closing of the disc, the group again goes to another nearly 15-minute piece in which they blend some rather "Island Music" sounding slide guitar with tabla drums, piano and electronic bits to create a sort of ethno-techno track that walks a find line between organic and electronic. About halfway through, things change up a bit and the more acoustic sounds take a back seat to the atmospherics, and it ends up working a little better. The final track is another blending of guitar, brushed drums, piano and electronics, and this time the song sounds not unlike something that came out of William Orbit's Strange Cargo series. Overall, the disc is a nice diversion of mellow electronic/organic sounds that manages to come off as not sounding cheesy (as most that try to mix the genres do). While the first track is a little more experimental and stands above the rest in my humble opinion, the rest of the disc is put together well and makes for a nice weekend morning listen.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00