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Aquarelle:
Leave Corners (Debacle)

After
a four-year hiatus, St. Paul musician Ryan Potts dons his Aquarelle
moniker to present a fourth album of instrumental music. Much of
Leave Corners resonates with an droning radiance, at times recalling
the glacial grandeur of Stars of the Lid. For fans of that act who’ve
been patiently waiting for a long time now for a return, Leave
Corners
offers some relief via kinship. Opening two-part piece “Open
Absences” sets the tone well with its open fifth drones, but its
much longer second act unfurls in quietly exciting ways, shifting
shape several times without ever sacrificing its own liquid ease.
“Cut Stone” is a more straightforward drone of harmonics with
fuzzy edges, an ambient blast of sound for its duration, but the
second half expands the palette and tone considerably.

Leave Corners by Aquarelle

“Brass
Logic” is built around layered delays of xylophone, clear at first
and then obfuscated in waves by undulating strings, cascades of
guitar, and cymbal rushes. It’s the most active of the six tracks,
with both “Intervals” and closer “The Horse Has Run” feeling
sort of like a distorted reflection of the front half of the album.
The slow ebb and glide of the latter evokes most starkly the intimacy
of Potts’ arrangements, letting most of the reverb and effects go
until all that remains is a hum of line noise and clean strings. It’s
an album that really caught me off guard, wondering if it might be a
bit derivative of Stars of the Lid’s last few records, but upon
further listening, that is unfair. Leave Corners does, however,
delight the same spot in my musical tastebuds, feeling at once
unassuming and stark but also quite moving in its hushed beauty.
Highly recommended, one of this year’s best.

Buy it: Bandcamp