Release Date: Feb 17, 2009
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Rock, Experimental
The kind of ambient-drone music Mountains make suffers from the same kind of public-relations problem all post-minimalist art does: the old “my kid could do that” philistinism that equates artistic value with apparent aural/visual complexity. Mountains’ music has always had a surface simplicity, a cleanness of sound and form that made Mountains and Sewn so satisfying. Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp have always specialized in blending Stars of the Lid-style grandeur with more analog sounds, everything from the ever-present acoustic guitar to field recordings of water and birds, but those not moved by the graceful sweep of Mountains’ music might be tempted to label it too basic in composition—why, it’s just a bunch of drones layered over top one another, occasionally with an acoustic guitar plucking away! Except it isn’t.
The two gentlemen that make up Mountains are longtime friends and collaborators Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, founders of the Apestaartje imprint. The group name was conjured by the pair -- who have been interested in everything from electronic music, minimalism, drone and Eastern tonalities, kosmiche and Krautrock since they were in middle school -- as a specific identity for crafting music in front of a live audience. Choral is their third recording and their first to appear on Thrill Jockey; their self-titled debut and Sewn were both self-released on Apestaartje.