This Valley of Old Mountains - Self Titled [12k - 2020]An intercontinental collaboration between Taylor Deupree and Federico Durand, This Valley of Old Mountains is a meditative piece capturing the softness and beauty of the natural world. A perfect soundtrack to coffee and reflection, this eponymous album stands in stark contrast to the tumult of our 2020 world. This reminder that nature is serene, nature is for recharging, and nature is to be cherished serves as a great respite from the world, but also as a jumping off point to act fast to save what we can.
Wonderfully without space or time, This Valley of Old Mountains is a piece all its own. While certain instruments and birdcalls would place the listener squarely in a location and period, it would certainly vary per person and per experience. Tape warbling and worn effects add a bit of nostalgic charm to many of the tracks and often makes the album feel like the soundtrack to a travelogue filmstrip. With may sounds that normally play at random (windchimes, for instance), the duo manage to give this randomness a sense of deliberation without making it feel forced. Everything is in its place...loosely. This allows for a freedom of movement for the listener to ride the waves, be they tape hiss oscillations, trilling birdcalls, or perceived breezes. The songs contained on Valley are varied enough that they have clearly different inspirations, but all share a connectedness that allows the album to flow like the stream that may cut through the eponymous valley. With that, the album works together amazingly as a whole and certainly stands up to, and warrants repeated listens. This is interesting, too, as Valley works as well on random as it does in its designed, ordered state. There is a cohesiveness that transcends the singular construction and composition, and this soft, sparse, deliberate beauty manifests further with each spin.
Proving that nature is and always will be the greatest inspiration, This Valley of Old Mountains shines sunlight on the aural painting of a fabulous landscape. Warm and thoughtful, this review comes in stark contrast to the cold, closing in winter of 2020. For a time when being outdoors and enjoying the world's beauty seems like a distant memory, Valley reels in the nostalgic feelings and allows the listener to get a respite from the cold, even if brief.Paul Casey