Channeling – Bluffs

channeling

Five minutes into Andrew Osterhoudt’s (a.k.a. Channeling) new three-track mini album, you may find yourself wondering if this follow-up to his self-titled debut is going to be a rather straightforward drone affair. It’s not an unpleasant beginning. Understated distortion adds a welcome grittiness to a gentle, neatly presented introduction. But appreciating “Drift’s” subtle progression does require a close listen.

The first major transition comes two minutes later. A shimmering, reverb-heavy guitar begins to build. Set against what’s left of the above-mentioned static, it resonates with a lovely ripple effect.

By the beginning of the second track, “Bluffs,” the guitar has taken centre stage. String instruments aren’t featured in ambient music nearly often enough. In the right hands, a guitar’s notes can be bent, manipulated and sustained with infinite variety. Osterhoudt demonstrates a keen understanding of that potential.

Later in the piece, his solo dissolves back into a wall of static-soaked distortion. It is an enormous, gorgeous sound.

The cassette’s final track is “Doves,” a piece written for Prince on the day he passed away. Not surprisingly, it’s unlike anything in Mr. Nelson’s discography. Instead, the piece captures that sense of wonder a lot of us have felt about Prince’s music. It is less a document of his passing than a tribute to his work.

Like the rest of the cassette, it is a great success.

Kevin Press

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