Published May 29, 2015Despite Heartland being the first release from Portland resident Dylan Stark, it's a spontaneous, brilliantly executed album and a piece of true artistry you might expect from a producer with a hefty repertoire. Like the ingenious Since I Left You released by the Avalanches well over a decade ago, Starks' release is composed of thousands of samples, tweaked, filtered and layered until their output resembles cinematic musings from a mind in constant motion.
Opener "Ashen" has a muffled beauty to it, a quiet urgency as if heard through the walls of a distant apartment, that eventually uncoils into a major progression of stuttered vocals and climbing synths atop a constant hard-hitting beat. The same goes for "Shelter," in which pounding percussion builds to a breaking point and drops into a completely unexpected tangle of intertwined squawks and powerful percussion. Heartland is an album that continuously surprises with a richness that's next to impossible to duplicate. (Civil)