Area C — “Haunt”

You know a release is going to be a good listen when the musicians involved can come up with so many ways to describe their Farfisa organs– lead, circular, chord, bass, fuzz, pulse, smooth… but of course, I had some initial doubts that an album primarily featuring only two of the same organ could carry the day.

I’m happy to say that I was wrong. The Tangerine Dream yawn-fest that this could have become never materialized, and I was instead treated to five flavors of Farfisa goodness.

In this incarnation, Area C is Erik Carlson and Jeff Knoch. The unstated arrangement seems to be that Carlson provides the eerily organic drones and understated field recordings, which Knoch embroiders with his unique approach to the keys– like red-shifted video of ancient bird flocks.

It’s a pleasant, but productive dynamic between these two that makes the album work– and as obvious a statement as this may seem, I think it’s important to note. When “Haunt” succeeds most, it is because of unexpected tension. Check the back half of the 20-minute “Circle Attractor,” where Knoch’s Farfisa conjures medical equipment and Carlson introduces mystery sounds not unlike a crackling fire or a rat in a the wastebasket, if you don’t believe me.

This is definitely a niche release– it’s too introspective for impatient listeners, and never really builds to any sort of cliched crescendo moment that lurks at the end of so many drone sets. It probably also isn’t going to reap a lot of praise from those who like their keyboards complex, hulking, and full of intricately-cabled patch work.

Instead, I’m recommending this to listeners with long, uninterrupted blocks of time for listening. Candidates will have 10 years+ open-mindedness, a desire to be quietly surprised, and a willingness to travel. Application details at Last Visible Dog Records.

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