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+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
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+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
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Ezekiel Honig & Morgan Packard
Early Morning Migration

An apt title, Early Morning Migration stimulates the senses with feathery Rhodes piano, caressing, warm drones, and shuffling pulses, punctuated by crackling digital debris and a faint rattle of percussion. Ezekiel Honig and Morgan Packard direct all of these disparate elements — from minimal techno to lowercase ambient excursions — like so many rays filtered through the blinds, fashioning one unified, tepid throb of glowing tones, yawning horns and sensual, shimmering loops.

For all its factory hums and galaxies of grating radio interference, the reedy polyrhythmic shifts and trombone scrubs paint a strongly natural setting, rife with mosses and babbling streams. Adorned with looming, churchly harmonies, "Tropical Ridges," with its incessantly clanging beat sounding much like a boat rocking against the pier, is filled out by seismic rumbles and eruptions as flitting electronic shafts coalesce into unstable clouds of cosmic gas. The sustained chords of a Rhodes piano recall the last warmth from the sun before it sets over the horizon.

"Planting Broken Branches Part 2," meanwhile, begins as a low-end drone encrusted with soft, crumbling barnacles. Slowly, the asymmetrical loops are bundled in a thick sheet of warm hum and nocturnal noises, until light pads that pong and ping wrestle the track away into darker sonorities. The piece, like others such as "A Lake of Suggestions Part 1" and "Window Nature," comes cloaked in a sort of motionless, ambiguous beauty. In this manner, Honig and Packard arrange the environment such that the most minor disturbance or fluctuation in sound produces uncharacteristically significant effects.

Compositions captained by Honig are more active, less placid, and generally buoyed by snapping techno beats and light dub effects. When the two join in on a single piece, his rhythmic progressions still serve as something of a stable foundation grounding the work, but Morgan's predilection towards bathing atmospheres in oceans of hiss and wheezing squalls of Rhodes piano provides much of the content, dragging these tracks down into gentle melancholy depths.

by Max Schaefer

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