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Coastlines

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Album Review

One gets the sense that a lot of careful work went into making Coastlines the immaculately shimmering creation that it is, which is sort of a shame considering how difficult it is to concentrate on while it's actually playing. You could say that that's precisely the point, that this is music deliberately resistant to concrete awareness, its soft-focus surfaces designed to deflect attention away from itself and from anything else that might be going on. But there's a fuzzy line between getting lost in the music — something these luxuriously extended grooves seem to invite — and the music itself getting lost. Anyone who's enjoyed the solo work of Hatchback and Sorcerer (the two producers who make up "Windsurf") will know what to expect here, and they are likely to be satisfied, as their collaborative material is very much cut from the same cloth: slow-moving, '70s-inspired semi-electronic tracks that blend Krautrock, disco, soft pop, and jazz fusion in a soothing, sun-dappled synthesis. A couple of tracks add understated, undistinguished vocals in a manner reminiscent of Studio (the Swedish fellow travelers whose music is among Coastlines' closest stylistic relatives), while a couple (synth-flecked "Pocket Check," goofy tropicale "The Big Island") boast beats bouncy enough to make dancefloor viability slightly more than a passing daydream. Otherwise, loungily lush widescreen epics are the order of the day, be they chugging ("Moonlight Sun"), tech-tonic ("Windsurf"), or amniotic (the shapeshifting, nearly beatless apotheosis "Crystal Neon.") To be sure, there is bliss to be had in these suspended moments, whether they come to you in a desk chair or a deck chair. But while artistic affect (as opposed to aesthetic qualities and craftsmanship, both of which are very finely defined in Windsurf's work) is especially difficult to assess in music that's so much about evoking emotional atmospheres, it's hard to shake the feeling that these California boys aren't glowing quite as warmly this time around. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 2006 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s

Windsurf are the duo of San Francisco-based producers Daniel Saxon Judd and Samuel Milton Grawe. Both together and separately — Grawe also records as Hatchback, while Judd, formerly of the band Call & Response, works on his own under the name Sorcerer — they are among the primary American exponents of the internationally dispersed style of free-floating, downtempo, gently psychedelic electronic music known as Balearic or cosmic disco. After they each independently caught the attention...
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Coastlines, Windsurf
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