[sic] Magazine

Near The Parenthesis – Music For The Forest Concourse

Less is neither one thing nor the other.

Readers of this will no doubt be familiar with the saying less is more. San Franciscan electronic act seem to have that as the idiom to create Music For The Forest Concourse, their fourth album. It’s not exactly minimalist but neither is it likely to blow your speakers with sonic overload or aggravation either.

Essentially a series of pretty piano pieces, loose and meandering in composition, over which is draped subtle percussive arrangements and flickering drifts of electronic. The music lacks variety and any true heart stopping moments of transcendental beauty .It drifts pleasantly by which may, or not be the intention.
Occasionally a track like ‘Within An Orbit ‘achieves a kind of neutered grandeur and tempered emotional resonance through the glossy keening pitch of the keyboards and I certainly admired the way the artist slipped a memorable refrain into a track like ‘Inertia ‘ which belies its title by being one of the tracks that truly evolves and develops from its diffident beginning.

The artist also slips in found sounds or voice recordings -’Diffused ‘ has what sounds like a call centre worker chattering away in the background for much of its six minute plus length and it is every bit as irritating as you may imagine that to be. Other tracks like ‘Settle In ‘ or ‘Low Horizon ‘ just pitter patter on, never really going anywhere-treading water.

For all that Music For The Forest Concourse has enough to reward listeners with patience and stamina. It is worth sitting through the mundane for tracks like the glistening ‘Designing This Building ‘( of course you could just skip them if you have this on CD) . Fans of Paul Schutze or Harold Budd will find much to enjoy wandering down this forest concourse. Sometimes less is more and sometimes less just really is less. Frustratingly for me this album fails to provide the definitive closing statement I would have liked for review purposes. Sometimes it seems less is neither one thing nor the other.