The five expansive tracks on Zelienople’s latest album—most hover around the nine-minute mark—do a good job of outlining the Chicago band’s ambient, atmospheric sound. Complex, non-obviously-linked polyphonic lines on acoustic guitar looped over echoes of FX, audible white noise and something resembling found sounds are the name of the day. There are vocals, but they’re so shrouded in echo they become another element of the swirling complexity. But His/Hers has more to offer than esoteric atmospherics. “Parts are Lost” comes closest to straight-ahead folk music, but it’s shrouded by echo-laden tambourines in this aquatic wash. It’s actually quite beguiling. After about four minutes the vocals fade away, and we’re left with quasi-Animal Collective loops of electronic-tinged clatter. Emotions of anger/dissonance (“Forced March”) and calm (“Sweet Ali”) are addressed with the same patience: an expanding gong, or the pitch-bend of a note come to signify important shifts in the direction of a composition. Zelionople doesn’t make music that’s particularly forthcoming, or welcoming to a casual listener; but if you’re feeling like contemplating some introspective, complex new music, His/Hers has lots to offer.
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// Notes from the Road
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