Empty Bottle; Sun 26
While Mountains men Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp call Brooklyn home these days, the longtime friends and former Chicagoans continue to refine the textured drones they began building here in the ’90s as undergrads at the S.A.I.C. A decade after starting the label Apestaartje, devoted to like-minded sound artists from around the globe, the deceptively un-Dutch pair remains faithfully committed to ambience.
Their third LP and Thrill Jockey debut, Choral, unfolds like a meditative séance, balancing instinct and intellect as the duo’s amorphous, electroacoustic structures slowly unravel. Layers of acoustic and electric guitar unfold over piano, strings, found sounds and field recordings—all processed beyond the point of recognition, obscuring any source material into haze.
Track titles such as “Telescope” and “Add Infinity” read like a psychedelic primer, but this is meticulously precise and detail-oriented rather than some shambling snowball of druggy delay. The results find the pair floating in a digital sea, echoing the usual sonic calling cards of Brian Eno, Christian Fennesz and musique concrète.
Mountains’ collaborative method—electronically sculpting like a pottery wheel—came about organically over dozens of live performances. Though atmospheric, these creations are exclusively designed to be produced indoors. And though the warm, gauzy chord progressions are engineered for minutely attuned listening, it’s hard to avoid getting lost in the layers.