Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues (02.09, Mutable Sound)
Byline: Fully fleshed out orchestrated drones from brilliant multi-instrumentalist Kevin Micka.
For: Aidan Baker, Amplifier Machine, Eluvium
Besides being a frequent cause for derision from my fiance, music that falls into the "ambient-drone" category is a staple for me. It lends itself to heavy headphone affairs in which I can be completely lost in washes of synths and looped guitar distortion to a diligent companion to late night War and Peace read-a-thons with Addy. The only downside is that when I hear an amazing instrumental album I immediately get a sense of sadness once the giddiness goes away, I think, when am I going to listen to this again? When can I recapture the thrill of the first time I heard this? The good thing about bands that fall into the ambient drone camp is that they always retain a sense of "newness" at every listen, without recognizable hooks or melodies each song is a limitless resource of sounds and musical ideas that gather weight with each listen. Animal Hospital's Good or Plenty is an album in which every song is as fresh and exciting as it was on first listen (as exciting as an ambient drone album can be). is a remarkable recording full of sunny, beautifully recorded instrumental forays into sound and texture. Kevin Micka is a masterful sound manipulator, taking seemingly standard song arrangements of guitars, drums, turntables, hand claps and the human voice and creates looping soundscapes that are rife with discovery. Never giving into the temptation to let his wanderings turn into an irrelevant wad of noise, Micka lets his instruments prop up each song giving them of a depth of a fully fleshed out pop song. His layers of shiny guitar washes over processed feedback and manipulation put him in the ranks of Aidan Baker and Christian Fennez, while his aural dexterity and dedication to creating beautiful soundscapes recall a Talk Amongst the Trees era Matthew Cooper. Good or Plenty is what I am guessing is a companion to his full length put out on the amazing Barge Records earlier this year, I'm guessing they both go in my list of favorite instrumental albums of the year.