Date Palms – The Dusted Sessions (Thrill Jockey)

LP/CD

10 June 2013

8/10

Date Palms expand their line-up and release their third album, The Dusted Sessions. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews it.

There seem to be more and more ‘drone’ artists appearing at the moment as people seem to be cottoning onto the fact that the genre is much much more than just rambling monotone landscapes. Acts are layering sounds and adding instrumentation to the basic drone template & by doing so are making the genre more textually interesting whilst maintaining the raison d’etre of drone – the hypnotic appeal.

Take the Date Palms duo of Gregg Kowalsky and Marielle Jakobsons for instance. On The Dusted Sessions they’ve been joined by electric bass, electric guitar and tanpura, and the sound is something else. It’s minimalist, but has some great additions in the form of Country, jazz and an intriguing Indian Classical. It all adds up to a very unique sound.

The album was inspired by a visit to the Yuba River & three of the tracks reference its name. Side one of the album starts with amplified violins which create an eerie but calming sound that almost has a Country music style. Imagine riders on horseback riding slowly along the riverbank, dust kicking up behind their hooves as they make their way into the sunset behind the inevitable clouds. Yuba Source Part 1, Yuba Source Part 2 and Yuba Reprise are all written on this same theme with the later of the three fading away calmly and beautifully.

Side two of the album is noticeably harder and darker. Percussion and electric guitars make their mark on Night Riding The Skyline although the violin does make another appearance at the electronically effected close. More electronic effects mark the start of Dusted Down which again starts slowly and soon rises into heavier territory, maintaining an element of calm and resisting the urge to go that little bit too far. Analogue synthesizers move slowly behind an intermittent flute as the track closes a special album which has a serene and endless feel.

It’s all good stuff, and if a cult movie classic Westworld was to be remade for the twenty-first century then The Dusted Sessions would be the perfect soundtrack.

Stirring stuff.

The Date Palms website is here. You can follow them on Tumblr here or like them on Facebook here.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewirefor all On The Wire news or follow his blog on Twitter, @hiapop.

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