Alpine Frequency by MV & EE has been likened to a pair of Neil Young’s patched-up jeans, suggesting that, unlike their previous work, it is a collage of sound. A patchwork quilt of sounds brought together to make a sprawling double LP. They mix psychedelia, appalachian folk and aspects of indian music to make their sound. As ever, the Vermont-based duo are joined by a cast of hangers-on that this time include PG Six, Mick Flower and Rafi Bookstaber, to name a few.
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Matt Valentine did some solo napping earlier this year, but this collab nap brings partner Erika Elder back into the mix. On the ridiculously (but not at all surprisingly) long ‘Alpine Frequencies’, the duo engage in a gatefold of snooze ‘n’ snores, creating music that looks ever-skyward while their quartet of eyelids drape over the corresponding eyes. As far as the New Weird America scene goes, these two have always been the chillest, subduing any of the weirder parts of a No Neck Blues Band sound with synths that remind us of where those stars in the sky are (spoiler: space), and occasionally folding the meandering, Deadhead guitars into proper melodies.
‘Alpine Frequencies’ offers longform yawn freakouts of various aesthetics: the first among them leans towards the regions of Krautrock, letting a guitar solo escape from the sustain like the last of a bad bout of hiccups. It follows onto “Tent Pitch”, whose chunky but clean guitar riffs combine with a swirling outdoor ambience that feels equal parts dreamworld and treelined outback. Like both of those things, it goes nowhere. The best moments happen to be when they introduce Americana into their template, if only to deform it: the harmonica and twang combo of “Stay High” is refuted with chunky distortion, spacey guitar chords a la Air and the kind of ambience you might find trawling the vaporwave tag on Bandcamp. I like it when it sounds like these two actually like music, rather than just like having it around, and the influences seeping into this track help center them.
“Milkin the High” shows the duo try on a sparsity faraway from their spacier inclinations, echoing Kim Doo Soo strummin’ and singin’ atop some empty natural paradise, as well as Joanne Robertson la la la-ing over Dean Blunt’s misery pop. It's a fine moment on an album of momentlessness -- sometimes MV & EE procure bliss and offer it to your ears, but it happens as they drift in and out of sleep. Tip toe around them and remove the bits you like from their bedside tables.
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