The Valley and the Mountain – Another Portal

3 out of 5

Label: WeMe Records

Produced by: The Valley and the Mountain (?)

Very low key, and less exploratory than the preceding Black Planet, to which this would seem to be something of a sequel.

‘Planet,’ as suggested by its title, presented tracks which, in my mind, mapped to the discovery of and travels about some new realm, escalating from the fun of first contact to things a bit darker and more devious. ‘Another Portal’ could be the soundtrack to checking out the next planet in the chain, but it stalls on a more generic, laid-back techno vibe on the A-side, with title tracks named ‘Bleed’ and ‘Echoes’ rather encouraging that: the listener is stuck between worlds. It’s pleasant and inoffensive stuff, but also therefore not really as unique as other TVTM offerings.

B-side’s ‘Post-American Music’ adds a funky beat and hypes things up with some layering of samples, and an acid style. Calling it Post-American is interesting; that this segues in to ‘Time’s old-school house beat and a distorted vocal stating “I’m a fucking shithead and I’m glad you spend your time with me” suggests that, uh, I’m reading into this stuff way too much.

TVTM finally brings it back around as ‘Vessels Collide’ on the closer, which has a dense, lowdown beat more in line with Black Planet, though sticking with Another Portal’s chill, almost insouciant tone.