Agitated Atmosphere: Tilth - Angular Music

Agitated Atmosphere, Album Reviews
02/15/2013
Justin Spicer

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Tilth.

The rolling entrance of Angular Music, the proper debut from Nathan McLaughlin/Cody Yantis duo Tilth, is the fog hovering above the sound, the snow capping Rainier  the Columbia cutting the land in two. It's the beauty of nature carefully captured in glass. A calculating, spatial composition that feels like the freeze and the thaw—and that's just the awe of "Godfather."

The mountain vistas and valley tunes of "For Sean" (a nod to the album's master and oft mentioned AA fixture, Sean McCann) or the droll revelation of "Drisk" mount a wondrous A-side campaign. Yantis' fragile guitar work pairs with McLaughlin's curated sounds to evoke a palette of emotions from a host of similar ideas.

Don't mistake similar to mean the same. The slow compositions each use a different timbre. "Drisk" is cold and dark, Yantis' guitar rumbling from the belly of a glacial storm. "First Breath" is minimal nostalgia; though it conjures the childlike remembrance of seeing our breath on the first snow day, it does not out of a need to tap into such emotions to be relevant; it's just the nature of the tone. "De la Serna" may recall Loren Connor or the simpler moments of the Jeweled Antler Collective but it does not owe either penitence.

Angular Music is the album to balance out the emotions of the day. Its even-keeled approach does not waver even as its disposition does. It is a journey to the center and McLaughlin and Yantis find it; both metaphysically and geographically.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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