Exposé Online banner

Alpine Decline — Go Big Shadow City
(Tenzenmen 156tzm, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-03-27

Go Big Shadow City Cover art

This is Alpine Decline’s fifth outing – I’ve covered their previous reverb-drenched dark psychedelic releases in previous reviews, and Go Big Shadow City doesn’t signal any kind of change in direction. I’ve seen the band live, and can attest to the fact that they sound very much the same on stage as they do in the studio. The duo of Jonathan Zeitlin and Pauline Mu can really fill up a room with sound, between the collection of effects pedals on Zeitlin’s guitar, the reverb on his voice, and Mu’s use of a keyboard next to her drum kit. Presumably they use overdubs in the studio to accomplish the same multitasking with a bit less effort, adding in other parts as well for an even bigger sound. But with all the cavernous reverberation, it’s pretty difficult to make out exactly what they’re doing. I know that this foggy indistinct sound is exactly what they’re looking for – it’s an esthetic choice, and one that lots of artists make. Producer Yang Haisong usually favors a bit more sonic definition (as on PK15 and After Argument), but in this case meets the band halfway. The sound is big and complex enough to keep my interest, though I do occasionally long for some cleaner sounds to latch onto. Keeping the listener off guard like this is probably their intention, but it can get a little tiring after a while. Fans of bands like The Black Angels should feel right at home here, but for myself I can wish for a little more variation in the future.


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Alpine Decline

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rumblin Orchestra - Spartacus – Spartacus by Rumblin' Orchestra is led by Hungarian keyboardist and composer Ella Bela. This release is technically fine, but is somewhat a rehash of things that have been done better before. Bela is...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues