Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silent Land time Machine - & Hope Still

Silent Land Time Machine
&Hope Still
(2008, Time-Lag/Indian Queen)
File under = Experimental chamber folk

Attention artists: packaging is important. The visual images and materials you choose to associate with your music can be paramount to the attitude of your listeners when deciding whether to buy or even listen to what you have created. Sure, the internet has provided a powerful argument suggesting the downfall of physical packaging. To me it is just wake up call to artists and labels alike: step it up! (but not like the movie of the same name.) I would like to provide you with two contrasting examples. First, Kurt Weisman. Weisman’s debut solo album, Spiritual Sci-Fi, is without a doubt my favourite singer-songwriter album of the year and will most certainly be on my top ten list next week when we post our year ends for 2008. The cover of Spiritual Sci-Fi; however, is terrible. Like, laughably terrible. I apologize to Weisman if there is some personal resonance associated with the illustration that dawns the cover of his record, but seriously, it is humorous at the most. So terrible is this album art that, despite my consistent and unequivocal ravings concerning the genius of the record, Sassigrass (my FG cohort/spouse) will not touch the thing with a twelve foot poll. I’m not sure if she listened to it that she would like it as much as me, but now she will never even have the chance because she can’t get over that ridiculous cover. Now for my second example and true subject of this review, Silent Land Time Machine’s &Hope Still. This album was sent to me by the wonderful folks at Indian Queen who co-opted with Time-Lag on the packaging and it is stunning. Here at FG we receive a fair amount of promos. Some more visually attractive than others, but none that have held my attention so singularly as &Hope Still. I simply had to hear what kind of music could be associated with the luxurious cotton sleeve folded inside a sepia-toned outer cardstock fold filled with various abstracted images. I could go into more detail, but I don’t have the packaging on hand as I’m writing this (at my other job that actually pays real money). Suffice it to say that it was the quickest that I have ever desired to listen to a promo and the most excited as well. I guess the second thing to announce to artists is this: make good music. Novel, huh? Well, fortunately for me, the packaging of &Hope Still was an absolute spot on visual/physical introduction to the music of Silent Land Time Machine. &Hope Still is all shades sepia via sound. Built on layers of acoustic instrumentation combined with various audio ghosts and samples, Silent Land Time Machine is a chamber folk orchestra of beautiful construction. Similarly wonderful, is the fact that this “orchestra” has been constructed with only two hands. It is another nod to an era filled with individual artists achieving wonderful ends by their own unique vision. &Hope Still is a vigorous, winding adventure, a ghostly post-rock mystery and a wonderful summer day wrapped into one beautiful package; one most definitely worth obtaining a physical copy of!

-Mr. Thistle

Silent Land Time Machine on Myspace


sass said...

Oh come on, I have kind of listened to KW. You are making me sound so shallow. I just can't take it seriously cause the artic fur clad princess pops into my head and I imagine that that is what the album is supposed to sound like- retarded. 2008 is the year of the worst album covers ever created.

Justin Snow said...

Listening to this on MySpace right now and it's gorgeous. I love it.

And I'm a absolute sucker for packaging. It's rare that the music and visual accompaniment are so disparate and it sucks when it happens. Especially if the visuals are so magnificent and the music is lacking. It makes me wonder how one person can have such good taste in one medium and poor taste in another.

I have a CD that I try my best not to ever pick up (Triple Burner's self titled). It's made of some awful dry, matte, chalkboard material that is the worst thing to touch. Thankfully, I ripped it once and pretty much haven't touched it since. But aesthetics certainly matter and I fault Triple Burner for making something so unwelcoming. So just for the record Sass, I don't think you're shallow.