Release Date: Aug 18, 2009
Record label: Barsuk
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Those who enjoy their indie-rock beautiful, intelligent and exquisitely constructed have been well served this year, with the debut release by We Were Promised Jetpacks and new offerings by Sunset Rubdown, Wild Beasts and Dirty Projectors proving that guys with guitars can still make interesting, moving music. Ramona Falls is the sort-of solo (there are a frankly staggering number of guest contributors) incarnation of Brent Knopf, best known as one-third of intelligent Portland rock band Menomena. Inevitably there are some parts of Intuit that will remind you of Knopf’s more established project: the mournful, gently pounding intro of ‘Clover’ or the syncopated piano and bass rattle of ‘Russia’.
Ramona Falls is beautiful. Seriously, check it out on Google Earth some time. A multi-tiered waterfall in a dark glen on the slopes of Mount Hood in Oregon, it's one of those endlessly photographable landforms that makes you want to be there any time you see a shot of it. As a sort of shorthand for the natural majesty of the Pacific Northwest, the name works well for Portland's Ramona Falls, aka Brent Knopf of Menomena and a huge cast of his friends.
Named after a hiking path near Mt. Hood, Menomena's Brent Knopf veers slightly off the experimental rock path in search of simpler delights with his solo debut project, Ramona Falls. Featuring 35 of Knopf's best friends, including members of The Helio Sequence and Mirah, Intuit contains the same jazz, folk, and subtle electronia elements of his day job.
Upon receipt of Intuit from Barsuk Records, I was immediately excited for the first listen. I am a fan of Brent Knopt’s primary gig in the Portland trio Menomena and as the last of the three to take on a side project, I was immensely curious what his solo debut would sound like. Upon first listen, the wide-ranging tracks begged for a more intimate listen.