Marumari

Wolves Hollow

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

On a sonic level, The Wolves Hollow is not significantly different from Ballad of the Roundball. The recording retains most of the attributes of its predecessor, from the mechanically lush underpinning of criss-crossing beats to the cryptic and open-ended but undeniably lovely melodies that float ghost-like above the fray. On the other hand, Marumari pushes forward into new universes here, while at the same time shedding one of Ballad's overriding traits. To deal with the latter first, much of the human coloring has been extracted from Josh Presseisen's musical palette. He primarily makes use of the colder, more processed elements of his vision. Even the voice that gasps out from the musical panorama of "Searching for the Sasha Wolf" sounds as if it is visiting from interstellar vistas. But this shift gives him a chance to incorporate elements of lazy hip-hop and agitated electro-rock into his already strong ambient mix. And it is hardly a miscalculation to so drain the human element, as the album's premise is concerned with decidedly unearthly and inhuman themes. In fact, it is designed as a concept album of sorts, with the song titles acting as guideposts through the narrative, a fantasy (with bizarre premise provided by mother Wendy) in which Marumari has the sole hominid role. What exactly that story is, however, is less clear. It is an eldritch patchwork, part hippie communal fable, part Indian animal myth, a computer-savvy Tarzan crossed with War of the Worlds. Presumably the album's earth is peopled by a race of Earth Wolves that survive by feeding cow brains to a supercomputer. Eventually this race is invaded by Alien Wolves from outer space after a chance contact is made by young Josh. The Alien Wolves are defeated and pass their music to the boy, who becomes, in essence, its decoder and orchestrator. Regardless of the specific narrative details, though, and even had this "Wolferian Symphony" lacked any outward indicators, it would still play like a strange, otherworldly epic. Though it has a dark insularity at times, it is also sweeping, transporting us across a broad, winter-hued, post-apocalyptic landscape; if we give it the chance, and in spite of our own imaginative expanses, as well.

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