Sunday, April 5, 2015

Villages - Procession Acts (Bathetic, 2015)

The decade long evolution of Villages (William Ross Gentry) has been a fascinating one. It's been a privilege to watch this personality unfurl. At an impressive fifteen releases, each has growth that is very apparent, one that is indicative of hard work, and a discerning ear.

His initial offering, the lovely and delicate "The Last Whole Earth" in 2010, seems homage to his heroes, a cold yet delicate droning piece that calls to mind artists such as Eno, Stars of the Lid, and Labradford. As his palatte refined, Villages moved in a less ambient / drone direction. At each moment, there is a subtle maturity. The Spilling Past showed leaps and bounds in production, Theories of Ageing sees a shift, not only to cinematic frontier, but a more rhythmic direction with clean piano, acoustic guitar, and banjo, signifying an attempt to distinguish his motif as an accessible music separate from the drone genre. He escaped the pigeon hole only to be dubbed "Appalachian Drone" by several writers.

With "Procession Acts", the ten year oeuvre seems to reach a pinnacle of emotion and individual characteristics. with a production excellence that would inspire all who make music themselves.

If you're a fan of classical music, you know that often it is possible to recognize imagery and incidents the writer was contemplating during the creative process. Gentry's subtleties and nuances are full forward, and he wears his influences on his sleeve: Jonny Greenwood, Cliff Martinez, and Nick Cave & Warren Ellis scores, Type Records artists such as Peter Broderick and Goldmund, western guitar drone and blues from Steven R. Smith to Mississippi John Hurt. All of these elements combine to make a perfect album, and the culmination of an excellent repertoire.

Act One

Beginnings in Dust
Devouring the Whole
The Luddite
Tell the Butcher
Coat of Arms
Pillars in Half Light

Act Two

Open in Reverse
Out of the Mines
Slow Successors
Endings in Rust

Purchase your copy from the wonderful Bathetic Records HERE. Vinyl will go fast!!!

Stream on Spotify HERE.

Listen to a mix he made of his influences for the latest album HERE