you are not listening alone

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Tiny Hairs, Coldless

Tiny Hairs intrigue me. This Chicago based sextet is more of an experiment in sound than it is a musical group. It’s not to say that all you are going to get is random noises on their second proper album, but this is a record for the adventurous music listener. Your first clue this isn’t your average run of the mill recording has nothing to do with the album itself. You should know right away when you hear the words “Chicago” and “improvised” that you are in for what could be a challenging listen.

Eleven tracks of hushed, haunted, minimalist sounds are what await the brave. But while some will undoubtedly pass this off as “noise” or even wankery, a close listen reveals so much more. The easy metaphor is “a soundtrack to a silent movie that hasn’t been filmed yet”…if you search for other reviews I’m sure you’ll find more than a few that say that…but it has a much darker quality than film can capture. I can’t help but think that everything had to be recorded by less than candlelight. The darkness is not a creepy one, but just an overwhelming haunted feeling. It’s a very uneasy feeling like you are not listening to the album alone.

The songs ebb and flow like waves washing up against the sand. The music moves more like water than it does sounds. It’s an album that doesn’t wash over you with powerful white noise, or surround you with huge melodies, but it does suck you in just the same. Instead of being enveloped in sound, you are grasped by the anticipation of what direction the music will take next.

I seem to be on a good run of “not for everyone” type of albums, but maybe down the road I won’t have to feel like that. Maybe one day the understated art of improvised music will be for everyone. But for now, it seems to be reserved to those you like a little challenge with their music listening. And to those who do enjoy a contemplative listen… I say, listen on.

- Jake    


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