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Appleseed Cast – low level owl Volume I & II

Posted on: March 9, 2008

Appleseed Cast started as a typical mid-90s Emocore/Postcore band, heavily influenced by Mineral. Their debut record was good, but nothing groundbreaking, the second full length added more self-sufficiency – but nobody did expect what was released in 2001: the low level owl records, the birth of a new Appleseed Cast and now groundbreaking, as Nathan Rooney wrotes at pitchforkmedia about Volume I and II of the low level owl:

Low Level Owl is a supernova and a full redefinition of the band, a sprawling two-disc monster that redirects their ambition from the emotional release of their earlier albums into the meticulous conceptions crafted through endless hours of studio time. Overhauling their sound and incorporating a wide m�lange of styles, Low Level Owl goes a long way towards emasculating any of their previous hardcore influences by injecting a thoughtful, gentler Britpop jangle and winsome vocals and harmonies. The result is a mix of elements combining the enterprising studio conceptions of Radiohead with touches of shimmering Stone Roses psychedelia knitted together with the conviction and energetic drumming of the early U2, all draped over a monolithic prog-rock conceptual framework.

The technical execution throughout the album is flawless. The rock tracks are spread evenly across both Low Level Owl discs (which are available separately– Use Your Illusion-style– presumably so as to not overwhelm listeners) and are interspersed with instrumental and ambient tracks that act as connective tissue. Josh Baruth’s fantastic drumming is placed in the front of the mix and propels all of the traditional songs. Each of the tracks are awash in keyboards with the vocals generally lying low in the mix, making the lyrics difficult to decipher. These are the only constants through the entire work as Appleseed Cast takes you on a tour through most of the highlights of 90s pop and rock.

Both albums are balanced, each beginning and ending with instrumentals and connected in the middle by the droning “View of a Burning City” that ends the first disc and picks back up on the second. The combination of “The Walking of Pertelotte” and “On Reflection” clocks in at 8� minutes, and bookends the front of the project. Over an hour and forty-five minutes later, “Confession,” a nine-minute ambient head-trip closes the second disc. Both albums last fifty three minutes. Just the arrangement of the music alone shows the amount of thought that goes into an album of this size.

Hints of other bands occur throughout– from the Stone Roses in “Mile Marker,” to My Bloody Valentine in “The Argument,” to Built to Spill in “Reaction”– all embedded a lush wave of production reminiscent of the Flaming Lips, Spiritualized or Mogwai. There are also elements of Brian Eno and Aphex Twin that pop up during the ambient sections, and tracks like “Flowers Falling from Dying Hands” which remind me of Sonic Youth’s “Providence.”

Needless to say, Appleseed Cast have come a long way since that 1998 debut of frail failure. With Low Level Owl, they establish their own unique vision for the future of rock, offering hope and brighter possibilities for the genre– or rather, creating their own. These two albums have generated an incredible amount of hype in small sects of the indie rock population, while most who haven’t been privy to the band’s peerless new sounds still associate the band with their sensitive suburban roots. It’s time to look past the stereotype and herald Appleseed Cast for what they are now, and what they’re about to become: groundbreaking.

ring the warning bell!

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2 Responses to "Appleseed Cast – low level owl Volume I & II"

oh my godness, this band is awesome, thank your for introducing appleseed cast to me!

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