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Black Foliage: Volume one
Olivia Tremor Control
Black Foliage: Volume one
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (27) - Disc #1


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All Artists: Olivia Tremor Control
Title: Black Foliage: Volume one
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Cloud Recordings
Release Date: 3/16/2004
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 656605650425

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CD Reviews

"Black Foliage" is a harpsichord canvas
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 11/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hardly anybody does psychedelic space-rock the way the Olivia Tremor Control do -- and their second album "Black Foliage: Animation Music" is no exception. It sounds like the soundtrack to an acid party on Mars, with their elaborate tapestry of electronica, tape tinkering, and jazzy psychedelic pop. It's one of those rare albums that cannot be compared to anything else, only to itself.

It opens with.... well, "Opener," a wavery 25-second intro that slips into the sputtering Beatles-esque "A Peculiar Noise Called "Train Director" and the sweeping sweet grandeur of "Hideaway." Other songs strike different notes: "A Sleepy Company" sounds like a brass band getting drunk, while "I Have Been Floated" is a solemn little pop song with ghostly sound effects. "Another Set Of Bees In The Museum" is a fun little song that is blurred over by fuzz.

But the Olivia Tremor Control doesn't stick strictly to their own brand of psychedelic pop. They also dabble in experimental songs, such as brief interludes all called "Combinations," which appear to be tapes being messed around with -- the results are odd computerized vocals and random blips. "Black Foliage Animation 1" is a solid little tune that descends into bubbling, computerized chaos, and then gives up to the chaos completely. And the climax is "The Bark and Below It," an eleven-and-a-half-minute epic that starts on a soft little melody that is swamped by sonic thunder, only to reemerge among clangs, bells, electronic burps, a slurred keyboard melody, a xylophone, and what sounds like a heartbeat.

Listening to all of "Black Foliage: Animation Music" is a bit like a pleasant hallucination, especially if you listen to several of their odder songs in a row. But the best way to listen to it is straight through, without skipping any songs -- each one is a part of one huge sonic tapestry. The songs can be heard individally, but they lose some of their impact if heard alone.

The music is a bit of a dreamy head trip. Frontman William Cullen Hart takes charge of vocals, guitar and electronic twiddles. And he does quite well at all of them -- the guitar work he and his bandmates do is hugely entertaining and catchy. So are the brooding drums, theramin, and hints of bass, clarinet, melodica and violin. It's hard to pick out each instrument -- they blend together into a thick smokescreen of sound.

Hart's vocals are almost Beatlesesque -- he sounds a lot like Paul McCartney in some songs. And he's backed up by Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum and Julian Koster, as well as the Apples in Stereo's Robert Schneider, who add an extra dimension to Hart's singing. And the lyrics are hard to make out, but they have the psychedelic whimsy that characterized the first album: "We took a sideways glance and fell into the bottom of the season/we saw horizons and different paths away from here."

The Olivia Tremor Control were still going strong on their second album "Black Foliage: Animation Music." Denser and darker than "Dusk at Cubist Castle," this is an enchantingly otherworldly listen."
J. Anzalone | New York, NY | 10/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Really enjoyable psychadelic record that is even more enjoyable if you can appreciate the sound collage. I can't do the long piece, The Bark and Below It, but the experiments are interesting and interwoven. You really probably won't "get" them until you've heard them quite a bit, but the album itself is enjoyable, and it is rewarding when the collage becomes cohesive after you've spent time listening to and enjoying the music.

The album flows differently than Cubist Castle, but the individual songs are stronger. Grass Canons is a haunting standout track."