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Album Review

On 5, Town & Country continues with its own beautiful style of acoustic minimalism. Bass clarinet, harmonium, viola, string bass, and cornet are the principle voices, but the way the sounds combine and evolve is the key here. In general, the pieces unfold very slowly, à la Morton Feldman, with an emphasis on the timbre of the instruments and their acoustic interplay. The players and the engineer paid extremely close attention to sonic detail, using the ambience of the room almost as another instrument. Light percussion on some tracks ensures that this is not a purely ambient experience, as does the aggressively strummed (well, for Town & Country anyway) guitar on "Lifetstyled." "Shirtless" features a strong pulse, supplied by harmonium, that brings the sound closer to Steve Reich territory, but that's merely a touchstone; Town & Country has developed a very individual sound. Serene and tranquil, but never uninteresting, 5 is a lovely album.

Biography

Genre: New Age

Homespun minimalist quartet Town & Country was formed by guitarist/trumpeter Ben Vida, contrabassist/pianist Josh Abrams, contrabassist Liz Payne, and harmonium player Jim Dorling, all veterans of the Chicago avant-garde community. The group's self-titled debut recording was issued on the Boxmedia label in 1998; the Decoration Day EP and the sophomore full-length It All Has to Do With It followed on Thrill Jockey...
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5, Town & Country
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