Minamo & Lawrence English: A Path Less Travelled (Room40)
Another reliable entry in the Room40 discography, this collaboration between label owner Lawrence English and Japanese quartet Minamo plays to the strengths of its participants’ repertoires. A Path Less Travelled is, as its name may imply, a bit disorienting, combining electronic and acoustic sounds in subtle and shifting ways. There is a mix of faint percussion, accordion, electric piano, guitar, saxophone and more, but only occasionally is any one instrument in the foreground and distinct. “Springhead” is perhaps the main course of the album, running a whopping 17+ minutes and beginning with a swarm of microtonal drones while other elements float in and out of view. But halfway through, the drones break and reveal some spacious silence as well as a lovely, pastoral acoustic piece of music. “Fireworks” rounds it out with a nice epilogue to the hefty piece that preceded, a sweet, airy accordion piece that feels like proper closure.