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Hollow Branches: Okanagana Waves

Hollow Branches are:
Robert Osgood: Vocals, guitar, sound design and lyrics
Marius Sjøli: Guitar, piano, organ, synthesizers, sound design and background vocals
Mathew Kennedy Bass

Introduced via their record label, Audio Savant in 2005, Robert Osgood and Marius Sjøli realized quickly that they had similar influences and musical goals. Robert had already begun work on music for his new project, Hollow Branches when he asked Marius if he would be interested in becoming a member. The material from this period was picked through, rearranged, rewritten, and eventually discarded. The Words are Fire ep was recorded over the summer of 2008, and released February of 2009. By the end of the same year, Hollow Branches had recorded their second ep, Anchored in Sleep. Writing for their first full-length album, Okanagana Waves began immediately following completion of Anchored in Sleep, with recording wrapping in July 2010. While ten songs were written, only seven made the final cut. Similarly, the music was kept sparser, with less overdubs and tracks used than on previous work. Musically, Okanagana Waves takes influence from progressive rock, dark ambient, and neo-folk and explores themes such as scepticism, anxiety, the indifferent beauty of nature, and the ephemeral nature of life.

That's the official blurb out of the way. Progressive rock fans will undoubtedly recognise the bass player, from cult band Discipline. He plays with Phideaux too.

This is an ambient, sparse record. Robert and Mathew are based in the States and Marius is in Norway, and the collaboration takes place over the internet but you wouldn't think it from the way this album sounds. It is lush. Sonic touchstones would be Tangerine Dream, Opeth (minus the metal and the growling), Sigur Ros, Anekdoten, Radiohead, and Porcupine/Pineapple Thief/Tree. Or is it the other way round? You know what I mean. There is a very European vibe going on here.

You're not going to dance to it, that's for sure.

Which doesn't mean it's not good. It is. Very. It's not very long, mind you. At around the 40 minute mark it's nearly ep length.

As the sun peeks round the clouds and thoughts turn to Summer barbecues and whatnot then perhaps you might want to buy this record for another time. For you must surely buy it. After the umbrellas have been packed away, and you've got your Autumn fireside crackle on, then this must surely become the default ambient choice to paint the walls of your Nordic ski loft with pretty (complex) soundscapes. Indeed, scented candles should come with this record. There are no 'epics' here. No guitar histrionics. Just the mood and the moment. Faces will be painted in the firelight. Fine wines will be uncorked and savoured. Glances exchanged and boundaries explored. And some of that candle wax will be drizzled on…

Put the cat out. Cancel the milk. Lock the kids in their bedroom and put a crash helmet on.

I'm ever so sorry. I don't know what came over me. I'm just glad I stopped before I got to a use for the wine bottles.

Track listing:

  1. Rumor the Past (05:30)
  2. Habitual (04:35)
  3. Pareidolia (04:26)
  4. Weave the Architect (05:18)
  5. Travellers (05:14)
  6. Okanagana Waves (07:27)
  7. Afterward (06:56)

Added: May 12th 2012
Reviewer: Brian Watson
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 2170
Language: english

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