After releasing several nice little albums solo albums of ambient electronic music, Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp came together under the name Mountains and released a beautiful self-titled release on the Apestaartje label. Following a month long tour in the fall and a limited EP to coincide, the duo is already back with another eight track, forty-five minute journey through subdued electro-acoustic spaces.
Although the group treads similar territory here, there are a few small changes that make Sewn stand out from its predecessor. The first is that the group has backed off ever so slightly from the more harsh digital edges that at times cut through the mix on their first album. The second is that the group has let more organic instrumentation seep through the mix (especially the acoustic guitar), and both of the above changes leave this album feeling a bit more human. "Sewn One" opens the disc with quiet field recordings and lightly filtered sine waves before the whole track slides over into a nocturnal drone of quivering, filtered tones and what sounds like hushed insects.
After the short acoustic-guitar driven "Sewn Two," the album slides into hushed electronics, crackling field recordings, and soft wheezing accordion on "Simmer," calling to mind the similarly-subtle trio of Tape. The group is back to picked acoustic guitar and delicate processing on "Bay," which also mixes field recordings of the title into the fluid piece. More so than on their past release, the group seems to repeat themselves a bit more on Sewn, and while the results are always lovely, it doesn't feel like they're stretching out quite as much. "Below" follows the aforementioned track, and while it substitutes fluttering electronics in place of acoustic guitar, the running water field recording continues, making it sound like one of several songs on the album.
Closer to the longer pieces on their first album is the twelve-minute "Hundred Acre," which mixes more watery field recordings alongside steady and occasionally powerful drones and glinting processing. It's similar to what the group has done before, but still manages to sound lovely. As mentioned above, Sewn is a bit more uniform than their last album, and while it's still quite nice, it probably could have used a smidgen more variety and/or slightly different sequencing. It's still lush and nice, just not quite as breathtaking as their debut.