I lived in Japan for a little over three years. My travels were always by train. I would sit in the cramped confines of one of the cars with my headphones on, right next to the window, and watch the tiny sprawl of Japan roll by. I loved the feel of the window upon my forehead, the churning of the train beneath me, the quiet in my soul. Listening to Savath and Savalas’ Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey brings me back to those times.
This little jewel is an album that begs the listener to explore.
The opening track, “Beginning,” teases the listener with subtle bass illumination and the crotchety rasp of urbanity. The trees and honey mix nicely with the trains in “Binoculars”: the bass line is bouncy and smooth, the rhythm solid, and the static crackle rides along effortlessly. “Binoculars” makes me want to take to the nearest neighborhood sidewalk and just go, shaggy head on a swivel and taking in all the life that rests on our streets and in our back yards. Track six, “F Ride+Blues”, begins with what sounds like the lull of a neighborhood playground beckoning the music on, mothers and children interspersed between blank silence and the steady groove of bass and snare.
“Transportation Song” is by far my favorite track. The harmonics, the blustery feel of the noise, it all creates the feeling of movement, the feeling of going, and that’s exactly what I sense during the entire album-the sensation of movement, of needing to go, of needing to observe along the way. I can’t help to imagine that Savath+Savalas has walked the streets of big cities and bathed in the urban splendor of modern humanity’s own subliminal stanzas.
Scott Herren, the man behind Savath and Savalas, describes his music as “multidimensional listening” and I’m inclined to agree. After some time spent mesmerized by the lazy subtlety of his music, I would heartily recommend Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey to anyone who likes to watch the world spin by outside his window and just relax. An instrumental gem not to be passed up.
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