VA: Innature
Barge Recordings

Brooklyn-based Barge Recordings makes an auspicious debut with a finely-wrought collection of experimental music-making titled Innature. No dance tracks, no hellish psychosis, just ten provocative forays into ambient, folk-psychedelia, and drone soundscaping from reigning stars and lesser-knowns. In fact, the release could pass for a joint kranky-Constellation compilation and not just because it includes tracks by kranky artists Bird Show (Ben Vida) and Tim Hecker and Constellation's Polmo Polpo but because stylistically Innature aligns itself so closely to its label brethren.

Opening pieces like “Electricity is a Scarce Commodity,” a lulling meditation by turntable-baritone guitar outfit The Fun Years, establish a low-key start but the intensity escalates as the album progresses, culminating in scalding guitar escapades by Animal Hospital (“Late Summertime”) and Geoff Mullen (“Gold Eyes”) before MGR (Isis guitarist Mike Gallagher) eases the tension with “Neither Here Nor There.” Also noteworthy: Circle, a Finnish four-piece, opts for the road less traveled on a 12-minute sojourn that disorients and bewilders in equally measure (“No Battle, No Fire”), Polmo Polpo (Sandro Perri) contributes an hypnotic space-drone (“Farewell To The Flyer”), and Tim Hecker provides a predictably fantastic sampling of mesmerizing blur (“Dungeoneering”). Interestingly, though, the album's most beautiful piece, Loren Connors' stirring guitar meditation “Outside My Window,” is also its most stark and simple.

October 2006