Loren Dent: Empires and Milk
Contract Killers Records

Austin-based Loren Dent follows up his 2006 Lamella release, Love Versus Dirt, with the even more impressive Empires and Milk. Though long at 78 minutes, Dent's fifteen-song album is nevertheless a marvelously realized suite of hymnal drones meticulously sculpted from field elements, samples, strings, and guitars. In Dent's subtly majestic settings, waves of shuddering guitars melt into slow-burning drones and epic cloud-like formations accumulate from multiple layers of piano tinkles, string tones, pealing guitars, and cascades of warm static. There is uniformity, but also contrast: acoustic guitars peacefully ripple throughout “Love Song: Years of Iron Static,” reverberant pianos and organs imbue “If Ever We're Alone Again” with graceful melancholy, and delicate tones conjure placid paradises in “Masters and Slaves” and “Independence.” Empires and Milk is so consistently strong it seems wrong to isolate individual highlights, but the eight glorious minutes of “Love Song: Kinetics and Hope,” for one, are so impossibly dreamy the piece demands to be singled out. For devotees of deeply textured ambient music, Empires and Milk offers a magnificent companion to Mole Harness's striking Out of the Walled Pathway.

April 2007