Friday, May 6, 2011
Mountains - Air Museum
(Thrill Jockey, 2011)
I feel I take Mountains’ consistency for granted. That, because they consistently release solid albums, I somehow register the consistency as stagnancy or mediocrity--that straight line of high quality from release to release. How did it become this way with me? How have I neglected the proper appreciation deserved by Mountains. Of course, anytime when I’m in the throws of a Mountains record all this nonchalance towards the band is dashed. The band's every bit as good as acts like Belong, Eluvium, Stars of the Lid. Better? In some cases. In many cases? At the very least, very much in the same league. Though, you’ll read this and think, What? Of course they’re in the same league. What’s the matter with you? I don’t know. I feel bad. I’m sorry Mountains.
What am I getting at?
Air Museum is the best Mountains record. Maybe. It's hard not to think so after listening to it. Indeed, mountains (the earthen structure) were meant to sound like this, to be represented this way. Or: don’t take Mountains for granted.
One of the wonderful things about Mountains is their ability to move. Not a trait commonly attributed to the landform, I know. But Mountains make moves delicately, nobly, as a mountain should, And from release to release, they’ve progressed great distances across the landscape of experimental leaning music, music digging away at the top soil, music with caves in it. And, on that broad canvas, have created an eminently balanced series of work that is blessed to be both abstract and widely listenable.
Mountains are a gateway. And Air Museum is the keystone, washed with warbling electronics, windswept fuzz, humming melodics, and all that. It’s a Mountains album, that much is easily established. That it is the Mountains album, that requires some time. I think it is. At least it maintains the standard--a standard that couldn’t reach much higher.
Mountains - Thousand Square (from Air Museum, Thrill Jockey, 2011)