Feathers: Synchromy

Though Synchromy, Feathers' (Eddie Alonso, Matt Crum, and Eric Rasco) second installment in its EP trilogy, was recorded at the group's Miami studio, its material was further elaborated upon and mixed at Soma in Chicago with production input from Mr. John McEntire. No one should be too surprised, then, that the music's got the Tortoise drummer's fingerprints all over it, not so much in how Feathers imitates Tortoise's sound (it generally doesn't, though Crum's vibes and marimbas do align Feathers' sound closer to Tortoise's and the guitar riffs in “Mint Cairo” indicate kinship too) but in its like-minded receptivity to multiple styles and sonic detail (“Mint Cairo” seems poised to ride the EP out with breezy swing until a string section assumes command for the coda).

At times, Feathers' influences come to the forefront: parts of “Skara Brain” could be mistaken for a lost Stereolab jam, especially when a ‘60s organ solo surfs over the song's spy-thriller groove. Feathers similarly turns on the lava lamp for the lounge groove that starts “Iron Mountain” before taking a scenic road trip where sunlit piano and synth melodies collide with dueling guitar snarls. The second EP naturally extends the sound of the first though there appears to be a slightly stronger guitar emphasis this time around: dusty tremolo guitars sweep across the plains during the intro to “Skara Brain” and knife-edged guitars scald and synths soar over a classic motorik groove in “Ap(parenthe)synthesis.” Feathers' compositionally dense music is packed with unexpected twists and turns, making the EP feel more substantial than Synchromy's 20-minute running time might suggest. It'll be interesting to hear the three EPs in sequence once the last chapter arrives, given that doing so may bring into sharper relief the group's evolution throughout the trilogy's production process.

November 2006