April 13, 2005

Auburn Lull "Regions Less Parallel"

For the past ten years, New York-based band Auburn Lull has quietly made very beautiful, very quiet music. With cascading waves of slow, heavenly drones and gentle, touching melodies that are often highlighted by faint, soft singing. Though technically Auburn Lull could be classified with groups like Windy & Carl, Low and pretty much any band on Kranky, they do have a distinctive feel that sets them apart. Their two albums, Alone I Admire and Cast From The Platform, are two gorgeous works of art that have rightfully received criticial acclaim.

Regions Less Parallel is a collection of singles, compilation tracks and outtakes from the past ten years. Considering the high quality of their music--and personally possessing a few of the records included here--such a compilation is quite welcome. The split twelve-inch with Mahogany was the band's first major release, and it was a stunningly beautiful introduction, but to the chagrin of those who heard them, the band went silent. For the two years between it and the release of their debut album saw only two other releases, "Sigma" and "A Harbored Distance," both on obscure compilations--and, after Alone I Admire appeared in 1999, the band quietly disappeared again, releasing only "Rural Divide" in the five years between albums.

Auburn Lull's masterpiece, though, is easliy their 2001 Zeal Records single, Behind All Curses of Thought Lies The Ability to Focus on Vacant Spaces. "North Territorial" is a quiet epic; laden with beats, it takes Harold Budd's methodology and updates it for a new generation, quietly and slowly building to a beautiful climax, and the B-Side, "Van Der Graaf," continues the style, but with a darker, cinematic tone; with the atmospherics in the background, the gentle sound of a heart beating becomes a disturbing menace. For these two songs alone, Regions Less Parallel deserves five stars. While the other songs on Regions Less Parallel are beautiful and intoxicating, none of them have the "zeal" of these two tracks.

Unlike most rarities collections, Regions Less Parallel has a seamless flow; a case could be made for saying that this is the great lost Auburn Lull record. If their past track record is any indication, it might be a few years before they release another record, so enjoy this one to the fullest. Then again, it'd be impossible not to.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.auburnlull.com
Label Website: http://www.darla.com

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