Clear Horizon - Self-Titled
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Clear Horizon
Self-Titled

Clear Horizon is the postal project of Jessica Bailiff and David Pearce. 2 years in the making, it found the two sending tapes back and forth over the Atlantic ocean, culminating in 9 tracks and just over 50 minutes of hazy, warm music. In some previous life, it was probably folk, but it swirls with washes of white noise and other textures that sweeps the whole thing along like tradewinds. If you're heard work by Bailiff before, you have a jumping off point in regards to where this release moves, but it's even more of a head trip than any of her discs, floating in some nether region of sonics.

"Watching The Sea" opens the release with only Bailiff singing alongside an acoustic guitar, while at times a soft sweep of white noise drifts in and provides another edge-dulling layer of sound. "Death's Dance" takes things a step further, as reverberating sheets of white noise drift and move across one another, leaving almost indecipherable phrases of vocals by Bailiff to break through.

If you're one of those people who needs rhythm, or even some sort of low-end sound to make you feel satisfied, it would probably be wise to steer clear of this release. Almost every sound on the disc is from the middle frequencies up, turning the whole release into an almost aural vapor. It's unique in that even most ambient and drone albums have some sort of lower frequencies to help push things along, but those elements are almost completely lacking here, with acoustic guitars and piano providing the only real backbone to tracks that mainly move along with rather nebulous clouds of sound (although the gorgeous "Sunrise Drift" adds some submerged low-end hits that add an element of surprise to the track).

The highlight of the disc musically is the super-dense "Dusk," a slowly-evolving piece that sounds like it makes use of everything from guitars to horns and chimes, but everything is so washed-out and filtered that the elements just slide by one another. Because of all of the above, the last track of "Open Road" comes as even more of a surprise. With dense percussion and a distorted bassline, it moves things into an entirely different place (like Jessica Bailiff versus Flying Saucer Attack) on the closing track and makes you wonder where the duo will go from there (they've said that this is not just a one-off project). Unfortunately, it also makes you wish they would have included just a little bit more of a rhythmic element in some of their other tracks, as it really does push them into a better place with that added dynamic. For fans of the aforementioned groups, or others like Seefeel.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-11-27 00:00:00