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This is a strange little release. It is a vinyl release of a collaboration between some Portland artists that i have never heard of: Ilyas Ahmed (guitar and voice) and the self-described "lunar-inclined analog-synthesizer-and-processed-bass-clarinet duo" of Matt Carlson and Jonathan Sielaff, who call their duo Golden Retriever.

Okay, so, three kind of spaced out musicians from Portland, collaborating on a record. The end result is a dense miasma of droning tunes. It reminds me of Tanakh, but less dark and oppressive.

There are two tracks, one on each side of the record i suppose. Each side lists two titles, separated by a /, which makes it appear to be two songs. However, each side flows together to make one whole, meaning there are two tracks on the record, not four.

The A-side is Aftershock / Face to Face, and it is just under 15 minutes long. The piece starts slowly, the guitar tinkling while a keys drone. A faint voice whispers by as the song slowly gets spacier, the guitar overdriven and synths whooshing by. The tune wanders in deep space for a while, and then slowly comes back to earth as the voice and guitar become more concrete, surfacing out of the haze to sound like a July Skies song, but with space synths over it. I think this is my favorite part of the record. Is that part "Face to Face"? It's hard for me to tell here, but it is damned pretty.

The B-side clocks in at just over 19 minutes, so obviously the three collaborators are comfortable with a slower pace. This song is called Mirrored Image / Your Sunday Best. This starts with overdriven guitar and voice, the voice faint and whiny and the guitar kind of in your face. The song meanders along in an unfocused manner, eventually with samples of, i think, ducks wandering by. (It's either ducks or a really faint avant-garde saxophone.) Eventually the ducks fade out for a minute or so, the keys drone like an organ and i feel like i am back in a Catholic church, the organist just mellowly experimenting. "Your Sunday Best" indeed. This fades out and the guitar tinkles back, along with the voice, faint and eerie. It is a return to the quiet folk of the opening of the record with guitar and hushed voice, only the drone is a little louder, denser, almost overpowering the folk elements at times. This is a really lovely section of the song, and it brings the album to a tranquil close.

This is pretty engaging listening. It's not for everybody, sure, but there are moments of real beauty, and the overall product is interesting and engaging. I wonder if they will collaborate again?

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