Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
Beautifully organic, throbbing synths open boycalledcrow’s Emerald. Slowly the intricate instrumentation pierces through the film of watery sound. Clean tones descend like droplets of rain, distorted echoes revolve quietly in the background. Cloud keeps a beautiful pace that doesn’t break, inviting the listener to walk unafraid through a carefully crafted meadow with a delicate aesthetic.
Flurt begins with stumbling, wide bass and percussion that seems to play in anticipation of a climax. Instead of meeting the expectation, a gorgeous steel drum fills the mid-range of the track, as the bass playfully jumps from distorted to glitchy and high-pitched. boycalledcrow certainly lures you in with the impression that these tracks will play out with nothing much to show, but the levels to the instrumentation are undeniable.
Ghost begins with somnambulant chords hidden behind an intimidating bass and drum partnership. Disembodied voices moan with all emotion extracted from them. The track speeds up, pushed ever onward by the rhythm of the bassline. The speed steadily creases after a while, leaving echoed xylophones moving in unison with the lower parts of the track. The xylophone steadily skips off into the distance as the track closes.
Humble beginnings to Distant. A portamento sine-wave reminiscent of Boards of Canada makes its way through with a beautiful, high-pitched piano as a companion. The theme of journeys is explicit throughout the album, well-meaning melodies fight their way through triumphant strings and driving percussion. And though Distant is tinged with the feeling of never quite making it, the beauty is in the journey. The listener is kissed with sun-drenched euphoria as a reward.
Birds chirps along, boycalledcrow’s engaging sense of rhythm and layering abounds even in this near 1-minute excursion.
Africa leads with a more dissonant sound, the bass being peeled off of the synth loop constantly with a strange but endearing Velcro-vibrancy. The track finds a way through, a happy xylophone strikes, guiding us through MIDI-undergrowth. Before coming out to a clearing where the proceedings fall back into an African-inspired rhythm before fading out.
Butterfly’s bass rips through the silence whilst also keeping its composure. Sounding like a perfectly mixed element in a full, crowded track. boycalledcrow let’s the part breathe, fringed with hi-hats. As often seems to happen on Emerald, the more intimidating bass sounds are dressed with light, innocent melodies.
Vapor gives no time for respite as bass drums and cymbals draw us into a fast-paced and engaging environment. Again, the instrumentation and melodies at play give a rise to a sense of adventure and anticipation. As loops disappear only to jump at us from around the corner, we are forced not to make a home in any track, but to keep moving onwards and upwards to the next level.
Amber eases in with quiet strings and melodies. Disappearing into nothingness behind them, the body of sound continues its journey past the listener like a satellite through space, pushed onwards by lower, echoed notes emanating from the deep.
Grid beeps in time like a radar, boycalledcrow has taken us a way from his friendly, digitised meadow. We float gently through space, kissed by signal beeps and drum patterns. We are slowly left in a chasm of sound that we can’t find our way out of. The cymbals morph into a dissonant background chorus like the jet blasters from the ship or suit we are encased in. Whatever boycalledcrow showed us on his strange emerald planet, it recedes steadily behind us into the nothingness of space, and a cautiously optimistic melody plays us into the stratosphere.
Listen here: wormholeworld.bandcamp.com