Sonic Reducer: The Acorn, Mail The Horse And Expert Alterations

Geoffrey Plant
3 min read
The Acorn - Vieux Loup
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The Acorn is a minimalist electro-folk project headed by one Rolf Klausener of Ottowa, Ontario. The band combines most of the usual instruments of any folk genre—banjo, guitar, tambourine—but more so than previous releases, Vieux Loup gets its folk on with some minimal electronica backdrops and effects. This peanut butter in my chocolate situation is noteworthy for the dichotomous sound that results. On “Dominion,” for example, the distant drone (which sounds like a time-lapse video of clouds looks) behind the right-in-your-ear vocals and percussion makes for an eerily confessional feel; on “Rapids” the guitar is mic’d so close you can hear the grain of the wood, while the accompanying loops of bleeps and eeps seem to be coming from another county. It’s cool. Alt-folk dirges with a touch of Fripp and Eno.

Mail the Horse Planet Gates (Sexual Decade)

Mail the Horse - Planet Gates
Mail the Horse may in fact be made up of reincarnations and coexistent incarnations of Gram Parsons, Dylan, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, The Band and The Dead. Many musicians have emulated those inventors of modern country, folk and rock and roll, but Mail the Horse actually sounds like they’re from the high-period era of those musical giants, the early ’70. The opening track “Best I Can” could be a lost song from Desire; “Flowers, Keys & Gasoline” sounds like a Gram Parsons-penned tune from Sticky Fingers. This could be a total masturbation scene, but Planet Gates jets along with its influences on its sleeve, one great song following the last. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with taking cues from great shit even if it’s nearly impossible to imitate. Exile wears mighty big shoes, but Mail the Horse pretty much fills them. Another thing. I don’t know about you, but I’ve about worn that Stones record out—so finding a replacement is actually pretty fucking cool.

Expert Alterations Expert Alterations EP (Slumberland)

Expert Alterations - Expert Alterations EP
If you’ve never heard of Expert Alterations, a Google search provides some amusing results; a lot of folks are credited with expert alterations. A lot of tailors. All over the country folks are doing fine, fine work. Kyle at Expert Alterations in Laguna Hills, Janet in San Francisco …. The Baltimore band in question, however, does expert alterations of the pop music kind, creating perfectly fitted pop songs in the vein of Television Personalities. It’s a jangly, up-tempo sort of affair on this five song EP, danceable and somewhat groovy—if perhaps too formal. A bit of goofiness or slop would complement this ensemble well I think; as it is this outfit’s nothing special.
Mail the Horse - Planet Gates

Expert Alterations - Expert Alterations EP

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