1 Mile North Minor Shadows

These days it seems impossible to write about this kind of drifting, minimalist rock music without referencing bands from the Kranky or Constellation label rosters. 1 Mile North, however, seem to be dipping further back in the genre’s stream of consciousness, referencing the austere ambient works of Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and even Aphex Twin. Guitarist Jon Hills uses effects and treatments very sparingly, preferring the clean, almost baroque tone of the unadorned strings. He floats his guitar on a slowly evolving undercurrent of loops and samples that seldom singularly break the surface of sound except to occasionally breathe in the silence. Hills is joined by vintage synthesiser collector (and player) Mark Bajuk whose arsenal of instruments seem to possess a sound for every mood. And mood-wise 1 Mile North lets a bit of sunlight creep in where others in this genre seem mired in permanent shadow. Pieces like "August 8:15” and closing epic "The Manual,” while they don’t exactly trip along merrily, have a warmth that enlivens them, and us as well. (Ba Da Bing!)