Avia Gardner Mill Farm

The second offering from Montreal duo Jenna Robertson and Mitchell Akiyama, Mill Farm is a thickly layered experiment at combining lilting folk-inspired singing within well-crafted song structures and collected sounds both natural and synth-driven. A prolific avant-garde electronic musician, Akiyama has recently moved towards fusing the organic and electronic to create a rather inventive sound whose influence is clear throughout this album. Mill Farm is a record that sounds like it ought to be playing in an old abandoned house deep in the woods, accompanied by the steadiness of rain. This well-crafted mood is a result of each musician’s various strengths and contributions and its success is due to the dynamic relationship between the two. Akiyama’s electronic leanings are evident in songs such as "They’re drowning so we’re safe” and "Winter’s fucking over yeah,” where a fuzzy beat drives the sampled audio, various percussive instruments, and Robertson’s acoustic guitar. Spinning tales about princes and true love, monsters, cherry trees, and waiting, Robertson sings the story-oriented lyrics in a voice that is both supple and assured. And it is easy to believe them, for they have created a whimsical and inviting world in just ten songs. Mill Farm is a pleasing surprise that is all the more unique given its place in a Montreal context. Though perhaps drawing cues from the influence of contemporary psych-folk, Akiyama and Robertson seem to be able to avoid imitation and re-hashing, as they move toward a sound that is all their own. (Intr_version)