Jason Kolb and Jonas Munk create something special in their musical world called Billow Observatory. Glacial peaks, hazy pink horizons, distant cracks of light that reach with million mile arms, and ethereal melodies that seem to rise from some unknown world, Billow Observatory cast musical spells from somewhere outside our realm of reality.
For several years, the musical duo of Kolb and Munk have collaborated via file sharing between Detroit, Michigan and Odense, Denmark. The results of that long distance collaboration are Billow Observatory(2012), II: Plains/Patterns(2017), and now III: Chroma/Contour. III: Chroma/Contour is their sparsest work yet, stepping away from the shoegaze and dream pop leanings of II: Plains/Patterns. First single “Iris” had an almost Sigur Ros feel to it. And now “Bright Lands Rising”, the newest track to be released from Billow Observatory’s third full length(due February 8th via Azure Vista Records) goes full cinematic scope. Lush, distant, and an all-encompassing alien-esque soundscape that is as beautiful as it is vast.
Last week somewherecold.net premiered “Bright Lands Rising”, and in their description of the track they said,
“Bright Lands Rising” plays on a glacial swell pattern that produces a sort of harmony in the piece. Its flow is patient and dappled with moments of texture and listing bright moments that pepper the spaces.
There’s a feeling of long, expansive spaces in “Bright Lands Rising”. Bits of sonic light break thru the foundation laid down by layering heavily-effected guitars and synths. Despite all the engineering magic and musical painting going on here, there’s a sense you’re looking through some paper thin wall into some other universe. I’m reminded of the sparse music landscapes created by Ry Cooder in Paris, Texas, or the more recent work of the late composer Johann Johannsson. In-particular his excellent IBM 1401, A User’s Manual. Sparse musical complexities that create far greater emotional reactions.
It’s not what is said in a Billow Observatory song, but how they say it.
III: Chroma/Contour is out February 8th via Azure Vista Records. Preorder it here.