electricity . childhood . farming . canada

The Mild West – Delayed Indefinitely

wist-records-iDespite the sudden and surprising announcement on April 1st of a new Depatterning release by A Closer Listen, this release will unfortunately not be available for Record Store Day or any other day for that fact.

Otherwise, work on the next Depatterning release has comenced. Its about electricity… and rail lines… and the atom… I think.

The press statement on “The Mild West” from A Closer Listen reads below:

“Only Wist Records seems to have noticed that Record Store Day 2014 falls on the day before Easter (Saturday, April 19). The Mild West will make a perfect gift for your mum after she’s made all of those delicious pies. Known for its love of history, Wist staple Depatterning has cooked up a very special release, delving deep into the heart of bizarre Americana kitsch for this nugget of Fool’s Gold.

Wyoming and Colorado ranchers in the 1950s were familiar with the sound of the jackalope, whose “lonely cry … resembled human singing and could often be heard on moonless nights”. It’s likely that the ranchers had been drinking too much (the jackalope was also said to be attracted to alcohol) and that they had been hearing their own echoes around a campfire. But when mingled with the more realistic jack rabbit and the “giant produce” postcard fad of the same era (giant oranges, giant sticks of celery), a minor artistic phenomenon was born. Yes, years before dogs were seen playing poker on velvet canvases, bored Americans were creating the 1950s equivalent of Photoshopping, cut-and-pasting images (with real scissors and paste, which was also edible) of cowboys riding giant jack rabbits. (The choice of jackalope / jack rabbit is a clear nod to Wist Records’ own jackdaw series.) The original postcards fetch a modest price on eBay, but they are rarely available, so it’s a great idea to collect a set here along with a little music. Not only does this release come with two brand new Depatterning songs, it also contains four postcard replicas, ranging from the quaint to the marginally insane. Considering the fact that the last Depatterning release (The Huddled Tone EPs) provided the score to an abandoned town (and also contained prairie-themed postcards), it’s nice to see the artist’s lighter side emerge.

As for the music, it’s like listening to a new entry in Flaming Pines’ Birds of a Feather series, with the unusual cries of the jackalope replacing those of the birds. Gary Mentanko integrates their cries to such an extent that they seem ghostly – no surprise, considering the source – planting them in a bed of field recordings (nestles, wind, spurs), sullen electronics (static, needles in grooves) and occasional dialogue samples from old western TV shows. But the highlight instrument is the detuned acoustic guitar, which sounds at times like Morricone playing underground while suffering from influenza. The title track is somewhat of a tease, ending just as the ambient backdrop seems ready to give way to a deeper groove, but “Cattle Ranch Dressing” is a classic in the making, tinged with just enough banjo and ukulele to conjure thoughts of marshmallows around the fire. It’s a shame that only a few people will hear it. We hope there’s enough to go around, but there’s no better reason to head into your local record store this April 19 ~ tell ‘em the jackalope sent you. (Richard Allen)”


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