Release Date: Jan 22, 2013
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Experimental Ambient
Ears still virgin to the inspiring neo-psychedelia of Mountains will find a perfect place to begin exploring their discography with Centralia. While so much ambient- and drone-based experimental music is essentially meaningless, forgettable work that roughly replicates the same sonic recipe popularized by Brian Eno in the '70s, the distinctive melodies and forward-thinking-yet-beautiful experimentalism heard in Mountains' music put them in a league of their own. On Centralia, Mountains blend the emotive organic textures of 2009's Choral with the synthesized elements of 2011's Air Museum, creating a cohesive album that encompasses all things Mountains.
It's not an attempt at a weak pun to say that Brooklyn-based electro-acoustic droners Mountains have always had a unique majesty to their sound. Where some of their peers deal in gooey synths, oozing electronic bubblings, and generally messy stews of texture, Mountains' sole members Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg have always turned in instrumental music so metered, deliberate, and precise it comes off almost zen-like. Even their largely improvised 2009 album Choral felt like every move was a considered, confident choice.
It’s clear these are different Mountains. These Mountains ruminate. These Mountains give space a chance. These Mountains breathe deeply. These Mountains drive composition with melody, with pace, with foresight. These Mountains barely resemble themselves. Not to say the duo of Koen Holtkamp and ….
The Brooklyn electro-acoustic duo Mountains have finally landed in a place as vast and awe-inspiring as the landforms they're named after. This is an album that causes you to view everything the band did before a little differently, turning 2011's Air Museum into a transitional piece, a necessary step in the build toward Centralia. Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg seem to alter their working methods with each passing release, choosing here to separately layer acoustic and electronic instruments, not manipulating the former with the latter.
When it comes to drone, there’s a fine old line between the brilliant and the banal. It’s a genre of music where an unchanging chord, or a continuous noise, can either be a joy to behold or a complete chore to listen to. Some artists get it completely wrong, but then there’s a group of acts making drone music that you know you can completely rely on to get it right.
MountainsCentralia[Thrill Jockey; 2013]By Zachary Corsa; January 18, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGOh, consistency. King of the backhanded compliment, especially in a realm as esoteric and acerbic as indie-rock music criticism. To call a band consistent can be worse than damning praise; it can be a death knell. Too often, consistency is critic-speak for 'boring', 'predictable', 'bland', and without innovation.
A major difficulty facing artists working in the obscure yet established musical genres has been to make themselves matter in a field dominated by a handful of relatively well-known names. In the case of Mountains, the Brooklyn electro-acoustic duo of Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, their challenge has been to distinguish themselves from big names like Tim Hecker, Fennesz, and Stars of the Lid, all of whom achieved recognition for their meticulously evolving soundscapes years before they arrived on the scene. While a daunting task, Mountains have quietly been chipping away at the drone music aesthetic and making their presence known with discrete, intricately crafted tunes since 2005 when they began on Apestaartje before moving to the more established Thrill Jockey in 2009.
No one ever accused Koen Holtcamp and Brendon Anderegg, the duo behind Mountains, of rushing things. They take their time getting music out there, and the music itself takes its time washing over you. Their compositions are big, all-encompassing things. You might be inclined to call them ambient, but they feel so damned physical.
With a firm hand for delicate layers and slow-burning compositions, the duo of Mountains creates a stellar relationship with the listener on their latest instrumental album, Centralia. Regarded as their ‘most fully-realized album,’ the duo worked closely together, crafting the album through repetitive work that involved the heavy use of acoustic layers fused with electronic tendencies. These seven pieces invite the listener into an engrossing experience, one that requires attention but in the end, Centralia is a moving album.
The seventh album by the Brooklyn duo of Koen Holtcamp and Brendon Anderegg, Mountains' Centralia is a meditative aid par excellence, and a musical work of understated but carefully constructed beauty. More than just background music or mood enhancer, it retains a solid, self-sufficient dignity that other "ambient" music often lacks; there is nothing apologetic, fawning, fuzzy or half-arsed about Mountains. They stand as tall and implacable as their name suggests.
An altogether entrancing experience from the New York-based pair. Alex Deller 2013 If the likes of Pontiak and Barn Owl conjure scorched plains and endless prairies then labelmates Mountains – the chillaxed twosome of Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg – are charting boundless ocean depths. Centralia, their third full-length for Thrill Jockey, could easily soundtrack a deepwater Herzog-ian journey in some sort of chuntering submersible.
Three-dimensional electric-acoustic duo Mountains aren’t ones to race their way through compositions. That’s made quite clear on ‘Centralia’. With songs stretching up to an impressive 20 minutes long, building synths are slowly introduced to textured electronics to create an aural panorama. And the result is pretty bloody lovely.The band consists of Brooklynites Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg, yet ‘Centralia’ is not quite the sound you’d typically expect from the depths of BK.