Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ashley Paul - Slow Boat (Orange Milk, 2012)

Ashley Paul – Slow Boat
Orange Milk 2012

According to Paul’s website, she uses a mixture of saxophone, clarinet, voice, prepared strings and bells. On this album, she is joined by NYC based musician Eli Keszler on percussion.

"The Places" features spastic, staccato, free form electric guitar/strings that sound kind of muted. It sounds very stark and sparse. Vocals enter into the mix and they are very light, high-pitched, slightly off key, and dissonant, kind of mimicking the sound and slow pace of the electric guitar. It’s a very demented and damaged aesthetic. Paul’s vocals sort of remind me of Satomi Matsuzaki’s from Deerhoof, only because of their light and gentle nature, although stylistically they are a bit different. "Tell Me" begins with sparse, spastic percussion, guitar, and clarinet. Then a slow drum set rhythm begins and vocals enter in their slow, light, gentle style, singing lyrics. The drums go in and out of the rhythm they’re riding, sometimes freely improvising on their own, which bodes well with the spastic guitar. The title track, "Slow Boat" consists of more long form, droning sounds. The clarinet has more of a presence, and the vocals are more stretched out. There is clattering percussion that sounds like metal, which, juxtaposed with the softer, slower sounds, kind of gives the piece some “dirt.” "All I See" is a pretty quiet piece because it mostly features this bass-y, bowed cymbal-like sound. The vocals, guitar, and squeaky clarinet all come and go in gentle waves, playing intermittently. Towards the end of the song, the clarinet plays beautiful high-pitched drones, at times oscillating and wavering. "February" features a wide palette of sonic textures, ranging from fluttering woodwinds and high-pitched string harmonics to crunchy, electronic buzz. "Right Behind" consists of languid, melancholic vocals and piano, which is a nice departure from the more commonly found set-up on the rest of the album. "Hide" incorporates eerie, high-pitched, bowed strings droning in dissonance with clarinet tones and intermittent crotales-like bells, creating quite a dream-like headspace.

LP for purchase:

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