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Mark Templeton - Inland

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Artist: Mark Templeton

Album: Inland

Label: Anticipate

Review date: May. 22, 2009

The allure of Inland begins right away, as a twangy, reverb-ed electric guitar melody is bathed in cascading delays, creating a hypnotic pulse and textured sonic vistas. From there, this latest album by Canadian experimental artist Mark Templeton continues to document an insular yet inviting journey, the composer’s hands-on, collage-like methods producing enigmatic mood shifts and plenty of textural surprise.

Templeton’s approach seems obliquely rooted in both folk song and film soundtrack music: there’s often a wide -open -spaces, lonely camp-fire vibe to his layered acoustic and electric guitars, his casually plunked-out banjo melodies. But these humble beginnings lead to complex sonic manipulations: cavernous reverbs; pulsing echoes and regenerations; fuzz and distortion; broken-sounding electronics; severe jump-cut edits.

Within these transiting events, other sounds are sometimes heard: static and hiss, accordion chords, gongs and deep-toned drums. All of this seems to occur organically, within tracks that preserve the relatively short duration and, somehow, the familiar narrative-like arc of folk or pop song structure. And while each piece seems to create its own voiceprint, there’s also a seamless and mysteriously unified sense to to the way the record unfolds as a whole. This is decidedly not trance or drone music: moods and timbres shift and juxtapose quite quickly, sometimes cinematically.

Templeton’s wordless, often gently falsetto vocals appear suddenly in quite a few places, and the effect of this is powerfully intimate and anchoring. Within all that sonic ebb and flow, all those arching views, we come upon the sound of someone singing to himself; helping us to experience, perhaps, the strangely comforting sense of sharing in another’s engagingly hermetic creative world.

By Kevin Macneil Brown

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