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The Bower


There's a house situated amongst the knobby hills of the eastern section of the Hudson Valley in New York. In our new lives, buoyed by satellite perspectives, it is the proverbial needle in a haystack. But for years there have been somewhat secluded and secretive musical goings-on in the room between the domestic area and the over-stuffed garage. Beyond the large, sun-dappled bay windows, more than a generation ago, a man, a pioneer in his field, took his music to the north country and began to move the air inside this room, vibrating the wooden walls, opening those little portals some of us believe allow the magic to seep through, no matter how many years later. Now here we are, in those later years, and a small group of sonic voyagers have roosted in this space once again. Pigeons have arrived at this uncommon structure, The Bower, via oceanic travels around the Pacific Northwest with The Sea Donkeys and early duo explorations with tape machines and tube-sock-mallet percussion and saxophones and a drum machine named Sammy. This record, The Bower, is an explosion of change. They are in the midst of their longest-running lineup, with Wednesday Knudsen and Clark Griffin augmented by Rob Smith on drums and voice, tho' this particular configuration is new to anyone save those who have seen the band perform live since their last full-length. They have invited you back into their home after years rooting around the confines of the studio seeking their very particular, and peculiar, forms of clarity. Roles have changed; song structures have more movement, richer textures, greater surprises. For one long weekend in March 2014, about a year after full-time occupation of the house in the woods, the trio, perfectly captured by Mike Fellows manning the board, laid down the songs carved deep in the grooves of this slab, mixed by Jason Meagher at Black Dirt Studio in July 2014. Some know-it-alls will hear a wide breadth of influences; some will research the band's past and compare fleeting words to current sound; others will be confounded, befuddled, and tickled with the possibility of the old new noise pop lullaby prog earthly outer space future sounds of the band. Regardless, this is a new mach, and the blazing arc across the skies outside your window is the remnant of the band moving on to even newer sonic destinations.