Various Artists

Timberwolf in the Tall Pines

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It's unclear whether Timberwolf in the Tall Pines was meant to be scary; it is, after all, part of Rykodisc's Atmospheres collection, which is normally devoted to chronicling the sounds of specific environments. Timberwolf is a spectacular aural description of the wolves' north central U.S. habitat. But anyone who has spent time in the woods understands the mysterious allure of the whispering midnight pines and how eerie the solitary call of the loon -- or the salivating croon of a wolf -- can be. The album opens with "The Timberwolf Environment," where the crickets are deafening over the hiss of wind and rain still drips from the canopy after an earlier storm. "Large Wolf Pack No. 1" is a recording of the sound no lost camper ever wants to hear. As the animals' collective howl echoes through the woods, it's all you can do to avoid a pine-bough clothesline in your haste to find the fire road. Interspersed amongst the sounds of wolf packs and their prey are a few lone wolf tracks, just to remind you that one is just as scary as a pack. "Lone Wolf No. 3" seems particularly hungry.

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