Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Here's the latest release from one of my past, present, and likely future collaborators Andrew Bland. His musical trade has basically become creating miniature, instrumental sound paintings and the pallet on this album comes out sounding quite colorful. The instrumentation here is rustic and organic, with a variety of percussion, bass, and electric and acoustic guitars mind-melding with flute and violins. The atmosphere reminds me of the rural cult sound of A Cid Symphony, which I reviewed way back when. Really this one is better - where the A Cid Symphony tends to drone on, Cosmic Relief provides a little more melody and texture.
This music is pretty much meant to meander on in the background in its entirety, but there are a few choice cuts that you may want to explore. "Manic Gaze Rag" does a fine job of occupying the sound of a long-in-decline hippy commune in the Ozarks. Meanwhile, you'll find a groovy, lumbering Crazy Horse with violin epic in "Wetlands." And I'm always up for the percussive, Indo-pulse of "Panorama." Really, you'll find a lot of short 'sound paintings' throughout the length of this set, and different ones will probably strike you in different moods.
I"ll admit that there may be a touch of conflict of interest with reviewing this as the primary artist was my roommate in uni, but I have found this album stuck in my regular listening rotation in the past few weeks. There a very nice variety of sound permeating this album which should interest the sonic mind explorers out there. The music definitely reeks of bohemian weirdness going on behind closed doors, and albums like that tend to get the Doctor's interest. I hope you'll have a groovy journey into this forest of sound.
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