* * * * * Willamette * * * * *

2012-01-27 13:15:59 UTC

[ Willamette ] may be an unfamiliar name but its members are no newbies; a side-project by the brothers Chong, better known to ambience chasers as Northern, whose album Drawn [ Infraction - INFX 024 ] warmed our ears back in 2007. For Willamette the brothers are joined by Joseph Edward [ Automobile, Swift ], with contributions by cellist, Danny Norbury.

Self-describing as 'minimal works for tape, silence, voice and various stringed instrumentation' and 'romantic music for the old and lackluster,' they operate at the interstices of space and volume, quasi-classical cadences offering a distinctly austere nostalgia. The project started several years ago and now sees an LP release in Echo Park". Your music brings various images in my mind. so calm, so sad and so beautiful. best wishes from tokyo..."


[ Fluid Radio ] ~ Now this is going to look like lazy reviewing. I’m going to start with a comparison that will have all ambient heads groaning in sheer disbelief at the fact that yet another act/album is being compared to Stars of the Lid…but yes, it’s true. This album uses all the tropes associated with the widely acknowledged masters of the genre and it does so to such an extent that it practically screams ‘compare me to stars of the lid’.

We’re all familiar with this comparison and it has become such a cliche that it’s essentially shorthand for ‘this is an ambient album’. Large numbers of flaccid, go-nowhere, uninspired albums have been allowed off the hook by this lazy comparison. Not only does this allow a large volume of shit to flood the market, but it also detracts from the genuine majesty that SOTL display and for which they are rightly acknowledged.

So with that aside, I am pleased to say that Willamette have managed to produce an album that is truly worthy of the comparison. ‘Echo Park’ is an album of diffuse splendour, plaintive sketches, and beautiful, wistful melancholia…all delivered with an acute sense of restraint and precision. The 10 tracks are, on the whole, relatively brief for the genre (maximum of five and a half minutes) and, to my mind at least, this should be taken as a significant strength…ideas are not allowed to overstay their welcome but certainly never feel underdeveloped. Moods are swiftly evoked, allowed full expression and then softly dissipate. It would have been very easy to extend a few tracks here and there, drag out a sequence past it’s utility, and strive for a pseudo-epic scale for the album.

The fact that the composer/s resisted temptation in this regard speaks volumes for their ability to prioritise artistry over posturing. This ‘just enough to do the job’ sensibility also informs the album’s melodic core. As with all essentially minimal music, it’s the parts that are left out that carry the greatest weight and here, each piece manages to convey a deep emotional resonance with the merest hint of ethereal melody.

The majority of the album is carried by gentle swelling pulses of hazy chords – and as such ‘Echo Park’ is clearly an ‘ambient’ album; easily listened to in the background – but when clear instrumentation comes to the fore (such as on the gorgeous ‘New York Heat’) it has a piercing effect that seizes the listeners attention and brings the music into sharp focus.

Albums of this calibre are, indeed, rare. So if there is to be any criticism levelled at ‘Echo Park’, it is probably that it wears its influences too clearly on its sleeve. Frankly though, if that’s the worst thing I can say about this album the message you should be taking away from this review is that Willamette have produced, with ‘Echo Park’, an album that could easily stand as one of the contenders for ambient album of the year. - John McCaffrey [ Fluid Radio ].

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- < < < < < [ 2012 Titles [ Always In Postscript ] Update ]. > > > > >

Willamette compose minimal works for tape, silence, voice and various stringed instrumentation. Romantic music for the old and lackluster, the compositions of willamette are characterized by meticulous notation and uncommon symmetry, emphasizing the importance of space and volume. The classical fugues of their recordings offer a distinctly austere nostalgia, not only capturing the air of an old Delerue record playing in a distant room, but the sound of the room itself. This music was written for the film All the Lines Flow Out by Charles Lim Yi Yong. It received special mention at the Venice film festival.

< < < < < [ [ MySpace ] | [ I NEED MORE ] | [ FaceBook ] ]. > > > > > --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Artist - Willamette Album - Always In Postscript Release Date - 2012 Genre - Instrumental, Ambient, Drone, Experimental, Dronescape, Minimal, Ambientscape [ AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL ] Tracklist 1. portrait of a sleeping girl with radio 03:35 2. un court thème pour lyla 02:35 3. a year of failure, a year of fortune 03:14 4. balustrade (hand writ) 04:09 5. open wounds (for j.n.) 03:43 6. avenue heights, carouselled horse 03:17 7. images d'une longueur de cheveux 04:04 8. always in postscript (free) 04:33 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Willamette - Always In Postscript -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Willamette Album - Echo Park [ * * * * * ] X 2 Release Date - 2011 Genre - Ambient, Drone, Experimental, Dronescape, Minimal, Ambientscape [ AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL ] Tracklist Willamette - Echo Park - 01 Suicide Dream Willamette - Echo Park - 02 Measuring Heartbreak Willamette - Echo Park - 03 L'amour dans le trestesse Willamette - Echo Park - 04 Escaping the memory Willamette - Echo Park - 05 Mid-August, For Rachel Willamette - Echo Park - 06 New York Heat Willamette - Echo Park - 07 The Motorist Willamette - Echo Park - 08 We're Still Here Willamette - Echo Park - 09 Echo Park Willamette - Echo Park - 10 Buried Presidents -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Willamette - Echo Park -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- willamette - echo park (album preview) by experimedia -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Journey Down The Dwell ~ Pastaklubben ~ Triosk ~ Sonicbrat ~ The Sea Shall Not Have Them --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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