Sparks & Spools
Visions – Magic -- Trees
(2009, Mooondial Tapes)
RIYL = Scott Tuma, The Books, Aaron Martin
Local experimental folkscape troubadour Sparks & Spools has just released a follow up to his debut, Three Cups of Sea Water, as the first release on the newly formed Moondial Tapes label and it’s a beauty! I was a fan of his debut and the digital release he put out on Magic Goat, but this brings everything to a new level. The method remains the same. The man behind the fireworks and thread winders, Taylor Christensen, blends his blessed acoustic guitar and various string accompaniments with samples and occasional vocals to gorgeous ends. In addition to his tape collage formula, Christensen has added some electronic elements here and there to keep your heart beating. There is a indefinable warmth to Sparks & Spools that seems magnified on Visions – Magic – Trees. Baked in nostalgia and left to cool in the sun, everything about what Christensen has produced feels like it was made in some rickety, backwoods tree fort. I keep wanting to create some type of genre label for what Sparks & Spools is for some reason and I think the best I’ve come up with is lemonade nostalgia folk. However, there are failings in this. Lemonade might be a little too carefree. There is a slight edge flowing under Visions – Magic – Trees with the thematically bizarre religious samples. Sparks & Spools feels a little too relaxed to be making any heavy handed statements, but not too ambivalent to realize cracks in the wood or the loose thread in his spools. There is a marked beauty in these minor key moments and Visions – Magic – Trees, for all its sepia toned joy, is not oblivious to those tiny minor moments. So now let’s get to the logistics. While Visions – Magic – Trees is certainly worthy of a wider release, there are only 50 tapes that have been made. However, in the typically generous fashion of Mr. Christensen, the whole album is downloadable for free! So you have no excuses. Give it a listen, fall in love, and then get a cassette tape of your very own. Good Stuff.
Download Visions -- Magic -- Trees from Moondial Tapes!