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  New Found Land  
  Yellow6, Rothko, and Landing  
  Music Fellowship  
Release Date:
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The Music Fellowship is a small label out of New Haven, Connecticut, a town in which it rains constantly when i visit. The music this label puts out is best described as "drone", which means that it is the analog equivalent of ambient electronica. I have reviewed some of their bands before (Landing, Windy & Carl, Yellow6), but have not actually reviewed any of their releases. Which is strange, because when i look at their website i see that i own quite a few of the things this label has released.

New Found Land is the first release in their current Triptych Series ("triptych" is an artsy term for "trinity" or "threesome" or "menage a trois"), and it makes for one damned fine ambient listening experience. All three bands featured here turn in some remarkable tunage, and overall the flow between the three bands works.

And it is the flow which is really the key to making any multi-band compilation work. The album starts with the guitar wanderings of Yellow6, which fade into the minimalist droning of Rothko, which fade into the light abstract pop of Landing. It's a beautiful sequence, and the music all really works well together. There is just enough contrast that you know when you have transitioned from one artist to the next without looking at the track number on the CD player, and there is enough similarity that if you are sitting, lost in thought, the differences in sonic stylings doesn't force themselves into your awareness.

The Yellow6 tunes in particular are great. Each track is, seemingly, better then the last, and i sit entranced by this music. I can barely describe it: chiming layers of echoing guitars over beats and synthesized drones. I am fairly certain that Yellow6 is one guy with a guitar, a ton of pedals, and a laptop. And yet -- the end result is lovely and deep, and i can sit listening to it over and over again. There is so much depth to this music that it is easy to get lost in it. Yellow6 standouts on New Found Land include the Victorialand-esque Silhouette, and the fuzzy, sleighbell guided ambience of Central.

The Rothko portion of the disc is a suite called Halftones and Metatones - From 1 to 7. At first, this piece always reminds me of Boards of Canada -- it starts with a silly little sample that sounds like it was taken from a kids toy, and then proceeds with a low rumbling drone atop sparse, stuttering radio samples. I keep expecting a funky breakbeat to come in, and, i have to admit, i am somewhat disappointed when it doesn't.

Rothko's work always seems more interesting intellectually than it is sonically to me. That is, there is a lot of thought on the nature of art and sound that goes into the music, and i respect that. On the other hand, they completely fail to "rock", and that is somewhat problematic as well. Sure, they create some interesting sonic textures (in particular i like the sparse ringing notes of the second part of this suite), but i always wish there was more to the music.

Still, in the context of this triptych i find that the piece works very well. Rothko is the minimalist cream filling sandwiched between the crunchy dreampop cookie of Yellow6 and the moist cakelike psychedelia of Landing. which makes this album into some sort of twinkie-oreo hybrid -- and that's pretty scary when you think about it. Anyway, the point is that i think that the Rothko music here really works well.

After the last portion of Halftones and Metatones fades out, Landing take over. They start with a spaced out keyboard piece called Introduction to Clouds. This piece is all keyboard-driven whacky sci-fi goodness. In general though, their section of New Found Land is light and dreamy, with wavering keys and tingling guitars and intertwined voices. The album just sort of lazily fades out as you lie watching the clouds and slowly drift off to sleep.... Landing's section is happy and lightweight. After the seriousness of the Rothko piece, the frivilousness of Landing is really welcome.

On the whole, i love this CD. For me, it has been the soundtrack to that unnamed transitional season between Winter and Spring. If you enjoy ambient/drone music, then i urge you to seek this out.

Related Links:

Source: Remix, by Yellow6.
In the Pulse of an Artery, by Rothko.
Seasons, by Landing.
Mass Transfer Installation:05, a recent compilation featuring both Yellow6 and Landing.


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