Northern Valentine

Northern Valentine & P.D. Wilder

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Collecting performances from two 2007 shows, this self-titled release is more of a duo effort in the end -- only Northern Valentine's core figure Robert Brown appears from that band; he and Wilder each contribute two solo pieces plus two full collaborations. Brown's solo works start the disc, with "Animals of the Dead" suggesting early Aphex Twin at his most serene but still tuneful, a core melody providing the gentle base. "Solar Wind" is less remarkable in comparison, a moody enough collage of buried rhythms and zones. Wilder focuses more on what sounds like treated guitar layers for his two pieces, with "Amx Atic" aiming for a murkier and "Ballet" a gentler take on such an approach. As for the two joint efforts, "Untitled #1" attractively meshes what almost sounds like a rhythmic birdcall with softly cascading feedback sprawl, delicate rather than crushing, while "Untitled #2" is minimal to the extreme, a nearly subharmonic blend of the quietest of pulses and slippery, shadowy tones and clipped crackle that slowly rise in volume as the track continues. On the whole, the disc is not strikingly unique, but is still an often captivating listen for those inclined to the approach.

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