Date Palms – “The Dusted Sessions”
This album comes as a breath of sand soaked air. It takes you away to a desolate desert world, while retaining elements that blend synth sounds with a rustic and western-feeling American slide guitar. The textures presented bring the album together like a tapestry of a dreamy sonic landscape.
The album begins with the ‘Yuba Source part 1,’ which is a perfect way to tune the mind for what is to come, as the record is a seamless experience. In ‘Yuba,’ there is the soon to be familiar landscape of dunes and deserts. With a slow and steady start up, this track contains many textures lain on top of one another in a non-traditional melodic fashion. A violin ties together the synths and drones of the tanpura, alluding to the intricately layered sound that permeates throughout.
‘Six Hands to the Light’ is much more synth-heavy. With an ambience that is cut by a distorted chord, a rhythmic steadiness is established in this spacey track. ‘Yuba Source part 2 and the Reprise’ brings the album back to the space introduced to the listener from the start, but with a retention of an eastern element and the static bass line. This is like a mantra, repeating itself and giving continuity to the overall ambience. Drones secure a placement for the mindscape while the violin plays the melody. It is calm and dreamy with a clear nod to the ragas of Indian music. The Yuba tracks stand out as very flowing with an almost country flavor. This, combined with an organic feeling that is eastern tinged and very meditative, is at times reminiscent of the George Harrison’s contributions to the Beatles.
‘Night Riding the Skyline’ starts off slow, as do most tracks on the album. Again, this track is dominated by a violin that blends well with a background of synth layers that create a blank canvass for the mind to wander into distant places. Then, a darker theme starts to take over with an almost foreboding rhythmical thumping. This darkness comes as a welcome balance to the meandering thoughts that had been presented in the preceding tracks of the album. This is the artist’s musical nod to the idea that the good would not be as sweet without an acknowledgment of the darkness that exists simultaneously. This track lends the listener an opportunity into a mechanized world that still feels organic—the true genius of this album.
The album ends on a perfect note with ‘Exodus Due West’, which feels like a powerful wind that brings the listener home from his or her mental journey of solitude through the desert. Still adorned with synths, this track features a flute that takes the focus of listeners and draws them to the center of their minds. This allows the listener reflect on the musical journey marked with desolate ambience that is characteristic of this album.
Review by Gregory Singer