Yawling Night Songs
(2009, A Silent Place)
RIYL = Our Sleepless Forest, Letters Letters, Skallander
Slumberwood is an artistic collective from Italy that seems to dabble in just about every medium, including sound on this, their debut album. Yawling Night Songs is a dense collection of wild sounds that have been let loose to navigate a dense night jungle. The first and second tracks build seamlessly into an increasingly tense aural freakout with layers of noise being placed atop one another. Towards the end, female vocals are introduced, babbling incoherently. The experience is somewhat trying near the end, but just before the floor falls through, Slumberwood eases into a gorgeous acoustic guitar passage modified by little bits and pieces of hanging shrapnel that is kind of reminiscent of some of Scott Tuma’s work. Yawling Night Songs feels like an exercise in just these types of juxtapositions: the calm and beautiful posted up next to the manic and frightening. Slumberwood also seems keen on trying their hand at just about any musical genre that tickles their fancy, moving from drone, to noise to folk to blues/bluegrass to post rock. Everything is fair game. However, it is this openness to morphing that makes Yawling Night Songs sometimes feel more like a well compiled or interesting mixtape that the work of one band with a defined aesthetic. But, no matter how ambitious the band is when attacking each individual muse, they pull it off pitch perfectly. Each track feels well produced and filled with lush instrumentation and faded field samples in every nook and cranny. Yawling Night Songs attacks every version of night available under the black sky and is a beautiful debut record for a band experimenting to find out exactly what it would like to be. Slumberwood may not have their identity down pact yet, but their fragmented debut shows a lot more promise and has loads more bliss induced musical moments than most bands just getting their feet wet. Certainly a group to watch out for in the future.
Slumberwood on MySpace