Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer Camp Casanova - High Windows (2007)

Summer Camp Casanova is one of many of Erik Chaplinsky's incarnations. If you live in Greensboro and have attended a few shows, chances are you've either heard Erik play, or were standing beside him in the crowd.  Erik is one of the founding members of the Subjective Collective, a small group of musicians/friends that often rotate in and out of each other's music projects.  A few projects Erik has been or is involved with are:  Blank_Blank and the Wilson Street Warriors, Poodlestick, Snackster, Hogwild, Aaarrrgghh and Secret Message Machine. The guy must have a notebook full of myspace passwords... geez.  

Blank_Blank, the most consistent of his projects, has been around since 2004 and I'm definitely a big fan, but I gotta say that High Windows really hits the spot for me. Blank_Blank plays mostly instrumental slacker rock in the vein of early 90s lo-fi favorites Sebadoh and Pavement. And while there is some of that sound here, there's a lot more experimenting going on. Erik finds joy in incorporating found sounds into or on top of his music . Like him, I'm a sucker for the sound of some forgotten instructional record on top of keyboards or rock music - on this album, two sampled highlights deal with the benefits of marriage, as told by a 1950s record, and some guy talking philosophy on death and dying - probably some famous guy. 

The instrumentation switches around a lot on these 9 tracks.  The first track is a repeating voice loop speaking of high windows, god, the devil, and so on.  Hide & Seek has a sneaky ambient droney sound going on in the background behind the laid back slack rock guitar, drums and bass.  Mt. 52 is all electronic, dark and creepy.   

The album drifts back and forth between full band instrumental rockers, lo-fi acoustic numbers, voice samples, fuzzed out keyboards and electric guitar stylings reminiscent of Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Folk Implosion) and sometimes the less aggressive side of Archers of Loaf or Polvo. Regardless of the experimentation, the dark mood and songwriting is consistent and well worth a listen.    

1. High Windows
2. Hide & Seek
3. Mt. 52
4. Beach Song
5. Part 2
6. Thousand Armies
7. Somnopolis
8. Aubade
9. Call it a home

Download High Windows free here

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