Lost Horizon (CD)


Friends of Dean Martinez

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Amoeba Review

John Schacht 05/15/2010

If Lost Horizon consisted only of the epic opening track “Landfall,” it would still rank as a high-point in the catalog of Bill Elm’s instrumental outfit. The seven-and-a-half-minute track begins in a hazy blanket of Elm’s processed pedal steel accompanied by an organ dirge, Mike Semple’s crisp, harmonics-like guitar notes reading like bright stars against this desert night sky. Andrew Gerfers’ mallets and cymbals gather a far-off thunderstorm that intensifies as the guitars begin to play off – and through -- each other like sheet lightning. The final three minutes are a deluge of intertwined guitar textures that repeat the melody with ever-increasing urgency until the storm breaks with 30 seconds remaining and the graceful theme returns. It’s exhilarating and exhausting, and Elm wisely follows with a morning-after tonic, the acoustic-and-pedal-steel shuffle “Dawn.” “Heart of Darkness” tilts predictably sinister, a Spaghetti Western classic on a steroid rage, while “Somewhere Over the Waves” coats processed textures over a wistful organ-and-synth-strings march until the guitars arrive in full gale to amplify the theme. It’s lonely, brooding and unquestionably FODM’s strong suit. “All In the Golden Afternoon” is another graceful shuffle, Semple’s solo playing out almost exclusively on his instrument’s highest frets for extra ring. The acoustic-and-pedal steel blend returns for “Two Hundred Miles,” this time highlighting Elm’s romantic streak while avoiding his occasional tendency for saccharine covers on previous FODM records. Elm turns the effects dials all the way up on the brief “Hidden Out of Sight,” but the track is leavened immediately after by “Dusk,” whose harmonics and glissandos sound all the more compelling on acoustic. “Departure” closes this journey on a true Western note, a slow shuffle played on lap steel and washed in hazy organ tones until a lonesome, keening pedal steel (more Speedy West than Eric Heywood) walks us off into the sunset to a simple snare-beat. The whole album reads like a primer in instrumental rock nuance, and a rejoinder to the simple swell-and-release post-rock crowd of recent years. It’s been five quiet years since this masterful 2005 FODM release, and one wonders whether Elm finally grew tired of his band’s undeserved obscurity – if so, they saved the best for last.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Landfall
Friends of Dean Martinez 07:56
2.
Dawn
Friends of Dean Martinez 02:42
3.
Heart of Darkness
Friends of Dean Martinez 02:49
4.
Somewhere Over the Waves
Friends of Dean Martinez 04:07
5.
All in the Golden Afternoon
Friends of Dean Martinez 05:07
6.
Two Hundred Miles
Friends of Dean Martinez 03:41
7.
Hidden Out of Sight
Friends of Dean Martinez 02:38
8.
Dusk
Friends of Dean Martinez 03:45
9.
Departure
Friends of Dean Martinez 04:18

SHIPS FREE in U.S.
1 used from 6.99
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