by Dominic Umile

12 January 2009


True to its name and sun-splashed cover art, Windsurf is breezy and light on their debut LP Coastlines. Glimmering analog keyboards spread across an array of tumbling percussion on this collaboration between Daniel Judd of Sorcerer and Hatchback’s Sam Grawe. It’s mostly instrumental, sharing prog ground and the cosmic disco grooves usually associated with Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas, and although Coastlines’ current home is on Thomas’s Norway-based Internasjonal label, Windsurf’s beachy pop sounds were born on California shores.

With reluctantly progressing movements from one textured plane to the next, Windsurf’s Coastlines sounds like the “side project” that it’s purported to be—the neck-deep surplus of spiraling arrangements and ideas conjure up the imagery of hours of perfectionism. When I’m not thinking of sandy deck surfaces at a beach-side bar, I can visualize a couple of bearded musicians tweaking DD-5 delay pedals and fiddling with the knobs on a huge Korg synthesizer. There are proggy, perpetually splitting keyboard lines worming through “Pocket Check”, while inoffensive drum machine patterns and funky guitar licks turn up on “The Big island”. It’s all very nice and airy, but what would work so well in a “controlled” environment of sorts feels empty otherwise.

cover art



US: 11 Nov 2008
UK: 17 Nov 2008

For example, “White Soweto” is ludicrously dated-sounding, with a pseudo-gloomy Knight Rider-like melody peering out beneath jangly guitars and repetitive synths. By its end, closer “Crystal Neon” defies the playful motifs that renders Coastlines a fairly limited listen. It’s sprawling and dense, peppered with moogs, bird sounds, and obviously surf noises, but it avoids any other resort-hotel lobby music atmospherics, with a bed of loops and glassy chimes that grows increasingly lulling by the minute. If you’re making a night of being indoors and basking in the afterglow of expensive weed, or maybe you’re nine Coronas in, and peering off the deck overlooking the beach at your vacation home, Coastlines is one of the records you’re likely to completely immerse yourself in, at least until its indulgences make you feel bloated and tipsy.




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