(2009, Sunrise Acoustics)
RIYL = Eluvium, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Belong
I first encountered the music of German Shepherd through a four way split that he appeared on with Forest Gospel favourites Millipede and, after listening to that album, Brian Grainger. I felt bad at the time because among the four participants, German Shepherd was the only one with whom I had issued some criticism. It was a sincere response, and was in no way meant to diss German Shepherd’s otherwise beautiful experimental guitar work for that album, but I just couldn’t get past this minute buzz in his recordings. Well, apparently German Shepherd (the musician), read what I said because when he sent me Alpine Melodies there was a little note in the package addressed to me wherein he told me that he realized that he’d mixed up the input/output connections or something and that it was the source of the minute buzzing that somehow rubbed my ears the wrong way. The gesture of this hand written explanation is at the heart of something that feels overwhelming on Alpine Melodies: sincerity. It’s something that is often missing from a lot of the music or art that is floating around these days. Something that's especially true of the genre of drone that German Shepherd is a member of. And along with that sincerity is, surprisingly enough, an incredibly well thought out, carefully performed and recorded album that absolutely blows his previous efforts out of the water. I honestly don’t know why I have delayed listening to this album and reviewing it, but be aware, Alpine Melodies is absolutely gorgeous. The five floating passages on the album drift by in an understated way that is reminiscent of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s Playthroughs. And, like that monumental album, when you give Alpine Melodies your full attention as a listener, what once seemed like nothing suddenly turns out to be everything. Enchanting to say the least, Alpine Melodies a small piece of paradise that you will most certainly want to own (only 100 copies made!).
German Shepherd on MySpace