Balam Acab | Wander/Wonder

Tri Angle (2011)
By ANDREW GRAHAM  |  September 27, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

balam-m

"Witch house" isn't the best tag for an act to get saddled with straight out of the gate, and when Balam Acab's first EP, See Birds, dropped about a year ago, that term had less of its current flash-in-the-pan feel. Fortunately, it seems the music press and Alec Koone (d/b/a Balam Acab) have both outgrown the flavor of those heady months, when Salem was on everyone's lips and DJ Screw's name was being thrown around the blogosphere so liberally that one might've thought he was from Williamsburg. Wander/Wonder starts slowly; the chipmunk soul of its second song returns to intermingle with a muddily stretched vocal in "Motion," its third track and the album's first firm footstep. A recurring use of water sounds (splashing, rippling, flowing) recalls the recent debut album by Clams Casino (another Tri Angle labelmate doing good work under a similarly godawful name). Where See Birds incorporated such overt witch-house tropes as 808-style snares, its layers of depth and nuanced structure also served to stake out turf somewhere between that nascent genre and more nebulous, formless "ambient" offerings. (Is the difference between "new age" and "trip-hop" simply the presence of a sampled beat?) Wander/Wonder requires less spadework; Balam Acab have crafted a fully fleshed-out record, with enticing dimension and its own subtle meanings.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, CD reviews, experimental,  More more >
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