Pelt – For Michael Hannahs

4 out of 5

Produced by: Pelt

Label: VHF

While technically a compilation of variously recorded unreleased tracks, For Michael Hannahs works astoundingly well as an album, and might actually be one of the better intros to Pelt as it gives a fair shake to their various styles.

The primary focus is definitely on drone, with the group’s often Middle Eastern vibe turned down in favor of general minimalism.  Though that term itself is relative.  For those so inclined to the more wandering world of music, second track Techeod (recorded around the time of the album of the name) is a magnificent ten minutes, and the abstract duo of Other Particles / Transposed Roads – though its almost distracting that these tracks are split, as they sound similar and flow into one another – is a pretty amazing miasma of out there effects and feedback.  Black Twig Pickers-esque folk gets airtime on opener Twin Sisters and the too-short Bring Me the Metal Head, while other tracks like Mosquito and Pith find the group seemingly experimenting with some new sounds, although the line between experimentation and improv is obviously murky.  However, its a shame these tracks are so short, as the sounds stumbled across are appealing.  But all the better to make way for the laid back shamble of 20 minute closer Goodwin’s Ferry Sunrise.

Sure, the argument could be made that style’s like Pelt’s dont require sequencing; that any old track can be stacked up after another and the sound is the same.  But any genre fan will be able to attest to different feelings brought on by Pelt’s variations on their theme, and For Michael Hannahs impressively manages to weave several of those themes together for an album of many highlights, despite actually being a compilation.