The Alps - III
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The Alps

Although it's far from their first work to be released, III is the first studio album from The Alps, and their debut on the Type Records label. Comprised of Tarentel member Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Alexis Georgopoulos (Arp, ex-Tussle), and Scott Hewicker, the trio cruises through a sun-baked horizon of psych-tinged instrumental rock music that calls to mind everyone from Ennio Morricone to Popol Vuh and others.

It's certainly cinematic stuff, and they start off with one of the best tracks on the release in "A Manha Na Praia," as a slowly-building acoustic guitar line and bells fold into electric guitars, hand-percussion, autoharp, and ripples waves of feedback. The aptly-titled "Hallucinations" mixes some wordless vocals into a steaming stew of organs, guitar feedback, tape loops, and a chugging rhythm section that basically just keeps the low-slung feeling sliding along.

"Cloud One" is as close to a Florian Fricke homage track that I've heard in some time, as acoustic and electric guitars coil together in delicious ways while a piano line twirls through it all and hints of distorted guitars ring off the edges. Melodically, the second half of the release isn't quite as strong, with more forays into straight-up trippy territory, as "Pink Light" spings through just under two minutes of woodwind minimalism while "Echoes" revisits earlier sounds of the release without quite as much focus. Without any massive expositions, III is the sort of album that's all about the journey instead of the destination. It's perfect for backing music, but has enough going on that you might find yourself seeing mirages as well.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2008-10-23 21:03:13