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Album Review

Skyphone's second album shows the Danish threesome coming fully into their own with a sound that both references their inspirations and puts everything together in a new, supple way forward. By working from the electronic path toward rock instrumentation as such, instead of the more common reverse path, they parallel the work of Languis in energizing and using familiar tropes in different contexts — something far more deserving of the tag "post-rock" than much that has been labeled that way. The skittering beats and bass and echo evident from the start on "Cloudpanic" alone show their love for Pole and the Kompakt label, but the moody keyboards and hints of guitar just as easily call to mind such shadowy masterpieces as Bark Psychosis' Hex, all without sounding simply like a combination of the two. With this as a strong start, Avellaneda explores a range of possibilities within an overall framework, resisting pigeonholing and never raising its overall volume or pace above that of reflective pacing, "easy listening" as a laboratory for recombinations. The gentle keyboard drones of "Dream Tree Lemurs," artificial hum turned into warm inclusiveness, invert standards of expectation still belaboring electronic music, while the hints of melodica on "Yetispor" and elsewhere further link to dub without fully cementing that link, a careful reworking through glitch and other filters. Even at the trio's theoretically most "traditional," as with the acoustic guitar figure that provides the melodic core of "River of Kings" or the more open-ended ramble and reconstruction on the same instrument for "Schweizerhalle," one can sense more than directly hear the careful collage of bass and crackling beats and rhythms, a new and much different kind of electro-acoustic music for the 21st century.

Avellaneda, Skyphone
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