» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Apes
Baba's Mountain
Birdman Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

April 29, 2005
Music reviewers often toss out the phrase "rewards repeated listens", perhaps too casually. It's meant as a compliment in most instances, but it still can denote a couple of different types of albums: On one hand, one might say that about a record they find absolutely incredible, and the pleasure one gets from the first listen will definitely continue - if not grow - from subsequent listens; on the other hand, the phrase also applies to those particularly complex records that take several tries to really process all of the different aspects and nuances.

Baba's Mountain, the latest from Washington, D.C.'s The Apes, certainly falls in the latter category. This is a complicated record, with swirling organs and electric keyboards, densely layered with bass and field recordings. Even with all the sonic effects and sometimes-disorienting noises, however, nothing ever feels bogged down or boring. There is a very unique sound here, without a lot of obvious reference points.

It is also a concept album having to do with a journey to a place called "Baba's Mountain." Sometimes when a band calls something a "concept album" they end up not really following through on their premise, making the whole project seem pointless. The Apes do not make this mistake.

In the first part of the record, there is a song about a Green Bus taking you to Baba's Mountain; on the band's website, they give you some cryptic visions of where Baba's Mountain is and say that if you hang a certain sign on your door on the last Saturday in October, the Green Bus will come pick you up. On the whole, it has a kind of hippie, free-your-mind, set-yourself-loose-from-the-chains-of-society vibe to it - but the thoroughness of the idea is really intriguing and comes off as well thought out and creative.

With all of the complexities in both sound and concept, I found Baba's Mountain to be a bit overwhelming at first. However, with each listen that followed, more of the album's charms became apparent. Underneath some of the sonic density, there is a real pop sensibility - some of these songs use actual hooks! Also with each listen, the artistic vision of the entire project draws you in. So it is not casually that I say Baba's Mountain rewards repeated listens. I also would say - with no more implied off-handedness - that based on its merits and creative accomplishments, Baba's Mountain deserves repeated listens.

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz



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