Taylor Deupree: Shoals (Edition)

The limited-edition seven-inch vinyl release Shoals (Edition) is designed to be a companion release to Deupree's recent full-length Shoals. The project in question originated out of an artist residency program Deupree undertook at the invitation of the UK-based University of York Music Research Center in 2009 and involved him working with the university's collection of Javanese and Balinese gamelan instruments in conjunction with an audio-looping program. As we noted in the recent textura review of the album, Deupree brought his distinctive stamp to Shoals by choosing not to play the instruments in the conventional manner but instead by scraping and tapping their surfaces to generate loops that would eventually form the core of the recording's material.

The vinyl release includes two four-minute settings extracted from the full-length's considerably longer compositions, the A-side an abbreviated treatment of the album's “A Fading Found” and the flip an exclusive titled “Sere.” Unspooling languidly, the former conjures a dense pond filled with glistening clatter and reverberant washes, while the latter's aquatic flow of micro-sound creaks, clangs, and rustlings is equally sonorous. Deupree's electroacoustic vignettes remain immersive and tactile, despite their brevity. One wonders, though, if it might have been better for the vinyl single to have preceded the album so that the two tracks could have served as appetizers for the main course. Regardless, vinyl releases are always welcome in these parts—especially when the pressings are in a ghost-like clear vinyl as is the case here—and Shoals (Edition) is no exception (finding textual messages etched into the run-out groove is also one of the pleasures of the vinyl experience—the promo edition I received shows the words “listen quietly” split across its sides). 12k never falters in the design department either, and the first-rate packaging that houses the disc—a chipboard sleeve letter-pressed with dark green ink—helps Shoals (Edition) become the collector's edition it is.

September 2010