Fields [Vinyl LP]
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Double vinyl LP pressing. 2010 release from this Swedish band featuring Jos Gonz lez (guitar, vocals), Elias Araya (drums) and Tobias Winterkorn (organ, moog). Their first single came out in 2000 and they self-released the Black Refuge EP in 2006. They released the 'Chickens/Azaleadalen' single in 2009. .Junip has periodically gathered together and recorded when schedules permitted, but this is the first time the members will focus exclusively on the band. Their sound can be familiar to those who have listened to Gonz lez's critically acclaimed records, but added to the mix on top of his nylon stringed guitar and distinctive voice are organs, synths and drums. The songs are often dynamic, melodic and shadowy.
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At the risk of damning with faint-sounding praise, these songs are pleasant. But that's no small feat, creating an entire collection of songs none of which breaks the spell that the low-key instrumentals and understated singing produces. Nothing Junip does is ever likely to grace a karoake collection--the songs are not tuneful in that way. But there is a sense in which the sophisticated poetry is carried along by the bouyant melodies and unobtrusive percussion that is very compelling and works on two levels: Fields can be wonderful background music for a gathering, but the lyrics are such that they will reward more mindful reflection.
Junip it's as tidy and clean as anything, just as elegant, as melancholic and very pleasant, is a perfect album, I recommend the limited edition comes with 3 discs (two previously released ep's). The music focuses on Gonzalez's trademark acoustic strings. You can feel his fingers on them, drawing us close. Winterkorn's snaking Moog lines add lust and depth, while Araya's drums contribute speed.
It's an album that would be difficult for some love, others will be eternal love, in which I include myself, is a quality production that at times makes the game of diffuse, other times you see the dust kicked up by the wind, but simple or complicated it is a lovely album.
The mix of talent and creativity of these three musicians results is remarkably strong, the genres that blend here, from folk to Krautrock, make for an interesting album, of course is not for everyone, perhaps by the minimalist sense or repetitive sense in any case, in my personal opinion is excellent in every way.
I would reccommend this album to many - from those who love the old Danny Kirwan Fleetwood Mac days to those listening to the newer things such as Death Cab or Carey Brothers.
This album sounds as if it is playing on a turntable with a wad of dust on the stylus. The vocals are poorly mixed, with heavy, dissonant bass occluding any clarity of vocals that might be present. I sent the first copy back to Amazon, as I was sure it was defective. 2nd copy just as bad. I can't help but wonder what has happened. Post-recording equalization can't remedy this; it's in the mix.
It's really frustrating to have a great songwriting and playing team produce an unlistenable album. Sadly, it's a chore to listen to songs that were so well played and recorded on the 'XPN show now full of distortion and poor mixing.
I listen mainly on a high-powered, audiophile stereo system; my iPod is secondary or tertiary listening. This sounds horrible on all.
If it were full of crumby ditties, I would chalk it up to experience; I've wasted lots on that. The songs on this could have been fantastic, if only the recording matched the talent of the band.
Wishing WXPN would release the band's appearance there so I could throw this garbage in the dumper.