Minamo & Lawrence English A Path Less Travelled

Japanese quartet Minamo create delicate sound constructions with guitar, keyboards and electronics. On this release, they're joined by Australian sound sculptor Lawrence English, who plays bass and harmonium and supplies field recordings and more electronics. Taking shape over the course of two years, A Path Less Travelled is an intricate, finely hewn collection of songs that feature gentle guitar passages and expansive drones. Each track meanders through rich fields, picking up bits of stray sound along the way. "Headlights" imagines the twilight hour, filled with chirping insects. The epic centrepiece of the album is "Springhead"; its laser-like textures ornamented with chiming percussive notes. "Fireworks" crackles and writhes to an acoustic guitar chord progression. Such achingly beautiful sounds nearly bring a tear to the eye. Collaborative efforts nearly always fall flat, but A Path Less Travelled rises high, nearly bouncing into the stratosphere. (Room 40)