Rosenau & Sanborn – Bluebird


Chris Rosenau of Collections of Colonies of Bees and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso have welded together two vastly different musical elements and created something very fascinating and very exceptional.

In a daring (and some may say even a controversial) move, the duo here combined atmospheric acoustic fingerpicking with dazed synth improvisations. While uniting aspects of American Primitive Guitar with elements of minimalist Krautrock could easily lead to a stylistic clash, Rosenau and Sanborn instead found a way to create harmony between the two.

In every track, you’ll find gurgling electronic pulses and beeps that dance and twirl around rich, deeply resonating plucked notes, sounding like a Roedelius and Glenn Jones jam session. You’ll also notice right away that you can really feel the space of the spot that the music was recorded in. You can hear the guitar reverberate throughout the confines of the room as the sound of rain, dogs and birdsongs drift in from the outside. This large scope to the sound places an additional layer of spontaneity to the recordings. The duo’s performance feels very influenced by their vibrant environment, as it creeps further and further towards being an instrument itself.

While this live approach is prevalent throughout the whole album and integral to its very identity, it helps make the final track, “Rainy Dog,” all the more effective. This track features strong guitar manipulations with all sorts of effect pedal stomping and knob turning. The guitar skips, stutters and layers on top of itself, which when presented at the conclusion of this very natural sounding album, it makes you feel as though reality itself has begun to glitch out. It’s a jarring and surreal climax that leaves you feeling disoriented and lost in the best way possible.

Yet despite the heady experimental lean, this is an album that feels largely relaxing, with tempos and moods as mellow as a rainy summer afternoon in the country.

If you’re a fan of Tuung, Cul De Sac and Cluster, then this is a record for you. Grab it here.


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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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