Jacob Long used to be the bassist in Mi Ami, a group who pushed the no-wave style of acts like Liquid Liquid into the frenzied noise terrain sometimes occupied by the Mars Volta. However, these days the music that Long makes as Earthen Sea is considerably quieter and more reserved. Grass And Trees, the project’s latest full-length, is a world away from the sound of Long’s previous band.
Grass And Trees is a gentle sigh of a record, one that is rarely troubled by percussive sounds. This isn’t to say there’s not motion to the tracks here - the delays that flicker away all across Grass And Trees nudge the album towards the Echocord school of dub techno - but this is not an LP for which rhythm is the primary concern. Instead these synthetic tracks drift languidly on, too busy to be readily described as ambient music yet neither quick nor urgent enough for anything other than home listening. Only on the skittering ‘Window, Skin, And Mirror’ do we get anywhere close to the club. Jan Jelinek, Thomas Fehlmann and Oval are among the artists brought to mind here, but really Grass And Trees exists in a space very much of its own.
Earthen Sea’s second LP for Kranky is a soft, intriguing excursion into hinterland electronics.