Downpilot follows up their debut (Thrive in a Short Season) with LEAVING NOT ARRIVING, created in conjuction with Seattle producer Tucker Martine ( Jim White, Jesse Sykes, Long Winters). BlueDisguise Records USA. European release early 2005 on Germany's Tapete Records (tapeterecords.de, also available at glitterhouse.com.
Downpilot's latest album, LIKE YOU BELIEVE IT, is available at:
It's a fine line between melancholy and moping, but Downpilot walks that line with superb grace. With its brooding lyrics and hooks that haunt you in the middle of the day, Leaving Not Arriving is full of romantic meditations that brilliantly capture life's complexities. Frontman Paul Hiraga's austere delivery of the album's opening couplet, "I heard the most dangerous thing about you...last night", from the song "True", sets a ponderous mood maintained throughout the disc's ten tracks. Hiraga's breathy, raspy vocals lend the songs a buoyancy that allows them to move effortlessly across his emotional landscape. On the second track, "Everyday Dream of the West", Downpilot picks up a pace that continues until the album's centerpiece, "High Water Mark", which spotlights the stark harmonies of violinist Anne Marie Ruljancich. She and Hiraga create a dreamy sonic terrain that's not dissimilar to her recent work with the Walkabouts. With elegantly layered production by Tucker Martine, the album swirls and floats and sometimes rocks. From the free-jazz horn sputters of "My Sunshine" to the atmospheric "Overground", this is an ambitious, auspicious full-length debut. (Brian J. Barr)
"The stark, Lennon-esque piano on "True" that states the opening of LEAVING NOT ARRIVING hardly hints at the the lovely and expansive textures to come. Over an efficient 10 tunes, Paul Hiraga's plaintive voice sits comfortably amid a smattering of sonic embellishments that stand up and move around on repeated listen. Simple trio arrangements by Hiraga (guitar), Jeff Brown (bass), and Eric Eagle (drums) are at the core, and they're brought to life with violin provided by newcomer Anne Marie Ruljancich (Walkabouts) and Hiraga's penchant for tinkering with keys. Sometimes the arrangements border on fringe country (the weepy sounds of "Everyday Dream of the West") while other dart toward beautiful dissonance through a hodgepodge of toys: distorted harmonica on "Mapmaker," a brass break on "My Sunshine" and a droning segment of guitar feedback on "High Water Mark. Making good on the promise of their Thrive in a Short Season EP, Downpilot propose and marry the unlikely union of Velvet-tinged flesh and folksy bones. (Andrew Dansby)
ROLLING STONE (Germany) ::: Amerikanische Gitarrenmusik war immer auch Produzentenmusik - auch wenn oder gerade weil man es ihr manchmal nicht anhörte: Steve Albinis Schlagzeugfokussierter Scheppersound, Butch Vigs vollintegrierter, artifiziellerÂ Mix, Jim O'Rourkes Experimentierfreude, Rick Rubins Schelmereien und Purismus, später dann die britische Schule um Nigel Godrich. Auch Tucker Martine hat sich durch seine Arbeiten für das fabelhafte letzte Modest Mouse-Album, die Alben von Laura Veirs und Jesse Sykes außerhalb von Seattle einen Namen gemacht. Downpilot-Sänger und Frontmann Paul Hiraga half ihm in seinem Day-Job als Tischler beim Bau seines neuen Studios und revanchierte sich damit für Martines mehr als überzeugende Arbeit an seinem ersten Album â€žLeaving Not Arriving". Downpilot, eigentlich vor allem eine Liveband, wurde durch allerlei Umbesetzungen und Abgänge bei den Aufnahmen immer mehr zum Studioprojekt von Hiraga und Martine, sodass die Stücke, die als Alt.Country-Songs begannen, sich immer weiter von ihren Ursprüngen entfernten und zu einer Mischung aus Americana, Jazz und Ambient entwickelten, die aus jeder Schublade fiel. Wie der Titel schon andeutet genuin amerikanisch, dem â€žOn The Road"-Mythos folgend, berührt â€žLeaving Not Arriving"Â niemals die staubige, Schlagloch-übersäte Straße, sondern scheint zu schweben, so dass man wie in David Lynchs â€žLost Highway" den gelb gepinselten Mittelstreifen unter sich vorbeifliegen sieht: â€žI've been overground/Silver dust lines to read by/ In the expressway of the sky".Â (4 Sterne/Stars)
:::(english)::: American guitar music was also always producer music, even if-or precisely because-you don't always notice that when you listen to it. Steve Albini's percussion-centered shatter sound, Butch Vig's completely integrated, artificial mix, Jim O'Rourke's experimentalism, Rick Rubin's devilries and purism, later then the British school around Nigel Godrich. Even Tucker Martine made a name for himself outside of Seattle with his work for the fabulous last Modest Mouse album, the albums by Laura Veirs and Jesse Sykes. In his day job as carpenter, Downpilot singer and front man Paul Hiraga helped him build his new studio, thereby paying him back for Martine's more than convincing work on his first album "Leaving Not Arriving." Through numerous recastings and resignations during the recordings, Downpilot, actually for the most part a live band, increasingly became the studio project of Hiraga and Martine, to the effect that pieces that began as alternative country songs moved farther and farther away from their origins evolving into a combination of Americana, jazz and ambient, that could no longer be put into any category. As the genuinely American title already suggests, and in the spirit of the "On the Road" myth, "Leaving Not Arriving" never touches the dusty, pothole-filled streets, but instead seems to float, to the effect that, as in David Lynch's "Lost Highway" you see the yellow painted median lines flying by: "I've been overground/Silver dust lines to read by/In the expressway of the sky." (4 stars)