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Cheer

Static Traps

(Benbecula; US: Unavailable; UK: 18 Feb 2008)

Alec Cheer’s music is like a snake eating its own tail; it has no real beginning or end. Static Traps, his latest addition to Benbecula’s storied Minerals Series, is all found soundscapes and minimal acoustic guitar taken to extreme lengths. While sounds of a vinyl record tracking and a fireworks battle taken in from a distance have their own quaint charm, it’s rare that a song here will actually have a discernible peaks or structure. That’s fine enough for basic ambient sound, like the kind that seeps in through your bedroom window in the early morning, but it’s a hard case to grant that much in the way of artistic control. Yet, you know that’s in him somewhere. “Afterthought” immediately sticks out as a wondrous two-minute exploration of Robbie Basho meets Evans & Doherty folk, with the most spirited plucking on the album. “Optimism In Buckets” is up there too, with a more morose guitar and what sounds like a cello accompaniment. It’d be nice to hear a little more of that, songs that tell you a story instead of driving your out into the middle of nowhere. Otherwise, there ain’t much here that really captures your attention or imagination.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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