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Aug 12, 09 at 10:36pmThe Dave




quote Press Release
Volcano Choir is an assembly of Wisconsinites Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Jim Schoenecker, Daniel Spack, Justin Vernon, and Thomas Wincek. You might find these old friends also frequenting records and stages under different monikers, Collections of Colonies of Bees and Bon Iver. The collaboration predates the meteoric rise of Justin Vernon's Bon Iver project, with original songwriting dating back to the summer of 2005, right around the time the Bees first toured with Vernon's previous band DeYarmond Edison.

While entirely a studio record, the collection doesn't suffer from the overburdens of a digital pile up or over-thinking. Rather it breathes and convulses in equal measure, radiating an inherent dynamism found only in the voluntary bondage of intimacy. With influences ranging from David Sylvian and Steve Reich to Mahalia Jackson and Tom Waits, it might be more accurate to say the group's influence is music itself. You can hear it in the care and real love generously applied to each moment of Unmap. With the vibe of some intimate backwoods gospel, plus a spirit of patience and thoughtful repetition, the music of Volcano Choir is as dynamic as it is lovely.

Unmap ultimately came together over a weekend in November 2008 in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, at Justin and Nate Vernon's recording studio. And while it is at its heart a record about the allure of being with people you need and making something with them, it is also a document created by musicians with rare gifts getting together to exorcise their ideas about beauty. This scaffolding of loops and off grid tempos for choral style vocals offers a state of continual surprise, call it unexpectation.

Discography:

 Unmap (22 September 2009)

  1. Husks And Shells
  2. Seeplymouth
  3. Island, IS
  4. Dote
  5. And Gather
  6. Mbira In The Morass
  7. Cool Knowledge
  8. Still
  9. Youlogy



Preview track(s):

Island, IS




Probably my most anticipated album of the year still to come and out of nowhere Justin and friends let us in on what they've put together. Justin's crooning falsetto vocals are present, correct and as affecting as ever but they've been transplanted from the stark acoustic atmosphere of Bon Iver into multi-instrumentalist loops courtesy of Collections of Colonies of Bees (think Sufjan Stevens meets Four Tet) and the result is actually rather amazing. Really looking forward to this release and if the wonderfully hyperbolic press release is anywhere near accurate we're in for a treat.

And no there aren't any youtube versions yet. I'm that scene folks.

Thread Recap (last 10 posts from newest to oldest)

Sep 10, 13 at 10:23am
DaveyPoshboy


NEW ALBUM ALERT



Repave is the band's second album and is an absolute stunner in my opinion. Think JV has developed so much since the first album and that really does show. The mixture of melancholy and pure electronic bliss is powerful.

Genuinely torn between having this as my favourite album of the year or my favourite album entirely.





Two particular highlights of mine.



Oct 08, 09 at 6:56pm
Toby


EUGH. What Vector said! I put off listening to this album mainly 'cos of the harsh comments from Vector but I finally got around to giving it a chance and I may as well have not, the album was anti...everything. The whole album was boring as hell and lacked some serious substance. Nothing memorable on the album whatsoever, I don't even want to listen to Still again despite it being a more layered version of !Woods from !Blood Bank. Seriously poor show, I wanted more.



Aug 31, 09 at 12:51pm
Vector


Well that was anticlimactic.

After a first listen to the album, I can't say I was blown away. I was a little irked even. Island, IS is by far the best track on the album. Everything else doesn't stand a chance. It's hard to believe they're all on the same album. I found that nearly every track on the album seemed to stay in that tinkering stage of development that Justin Vernon has featured in a couple of songs. It all leaves me wanting for more. The perfect example is And Gather. Within the last 5 seconds of the song there's a surge of sound that sounds great but then the song ends abruptly leaving me disoriented and disappointed. I still appreciate the album, but it's far from the euphonious fervor of emotion we're usually used to getting from Justin.

In short, if you're a die-hard Justin Vernon fan then listen to it. You'll be able to see the bright side but you won't be creaming your pants. I fear the appeal of this album will be lost on the masses, but I'd definitely want to see Volcano Choir develop a little bit.

Meh, I was expecting more.

Edit: And another thing. The song Still is just the song Woods from the Blood Bank EP with a little extra instrumentation. Not even kidding.



Aug 30, 09 at 7:04pm
Pyroguy


I'm not big into what I've heard from them, but I just wanted you to know that the albums seems to have more or less found it's way onto the internet. That being said, I'll check out a track or two, just because the band name is so damn cool. Maybe it'll just click.



Aug 27, 09 at 6:21pm
VulcanRaven


I'm deeply saddened by that remark, Wobble, I thought for sure that someone with such a keen appreciation for music would be able to easily recognize the beauty in the simplistic nature of the song. But I must agree with your preference for "Island, IS", it's got the instantly recognizable and lovable chill-out indie sound, and it doesn't try to do too much all at once. If the rest of the tracks are like this, then it is shaping up to be one hell of an album. Looks like 2009 may actually end up being a good year for music after all.

[size=1][color=#666666]This message was edited by VulcanRaven on Oct 08 2009.




Aug 27, 09 at 3:41pm
wobble


WELL THAT WAS BORING Maybe I'm going through some sort of goth/rebel phase like Ann that makes me depreciate good music but I thought that track was horribly boring. *bleep* I'm still looking forward to this album so much, especially after the awesome track Island, IS which I could quite possibly listen to all day.



Aug 27, 09 at 3:36am
VulcanRaven


I could have sworn I posted in this thread weeks ago when it was first created... I guess not. Anyway, "Youlogy" has definitely got to be one of the most tranquil and serene tracks I have ever heard in my lifetime. It makes me think of a ridiculously relaxing gospel-style "Amazing Grace" song, from the way Justin Vernon's vocals are soothingly backed by the rest of the ensemble, and with almost a complete lack of instrumental accompaniment. Such a beautiful song, it's not often you hear music like that these days. (And agreed on the part about the cymbal, metaphorically speaking it feels like a huge stone being carelessly hurled into a completely still and silent lake and spoiling the beauty of the moment. On the bright side, it keeps me from becoming too relaxed and subsequently passing out).



Aug 26, 09 at 10:08pm
The Dave


New track: Youlogy (exclusively on NPR atm apparently)

Yeah I'm definitely with you about Justin's voice being reigned in a bit in the final mix on Island, IS. The same is true of the latest song to emerge from the side-project in the album-closing Youlogy. The experimental edge of Justin's pals is gradually becoming more apparent but I'm sure the song will fit better as a final track rather than a standalone taste of the project. His voice lends itself brilliantly to the Jeff Buckley-esque gospel choir crooning of the last third of the song but then it's all over before it's given any chance to develop.

Also someone needs to tell the oriental cymbal/gong bloke to QUIT RUINING THE MOOD.



Aug 13, 09 at 4:16pm
Toby


What Vector said about what Wobble said.

Seriously, I gave this track a few listens before I went off to bed this morning (Sleeping at 5am has got to stop..) and the heavy electronic beat throughout kept me interested as Justin's voice sounded supressed in some way if you know what I mean. It didn't seem like he was letting it all out like on Blood Bank but maybe that was because of the beat. I'll listen again once I'm home.



Aug 12, 09 at 11:58pm
Vector


What Wobble said.



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