In 2002 Taylor Deupree said goodbye to glitchy pastures and headed for more organic territory with the definitive Stil, the dreamy soundscapes of 2004's January and several collaborations; most notably with labelmates Christopher Willits and Kenneth Kirschner, as well as Japanese ensemble Eisi for an album length reconstruction project. So it's no surprise that every experiment that he's attempted throughout the past four years has led to Northern, a beautiful six song treatise inspired by the quiet countryside Deupree has chosen to reside in (he recently moved from Brooklyn to more rural settings). This transition finds Deupree entirely abandoning the vocabulary of crisp, ear jarring highs and sub sonic bass to more textured, organic instrumentation. Throughout Northern, he quietly weaves a tapestry of atmospheres and textures through structured improvisation that recall the emotion and stillness of Stil. and January without becoming predictable and tiresome. The level of discipline while layering the sounds upon one another (especially during the album's closer "November"), all the while maintaining a reverence for silence that is similar to opening movement of the Joe Zawinul/Miles Davis classic "In A Silent Way." The serenity and beauty of this album has few rivals in the electronic music world and by the time the final notes rain down, finding a record that can stand up against Northern is no easy task to undertake. Quite easily one of the best albums, electronic or otherwise, of 2006.
AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston