Without looking at the press release, I immediately thought “Marielle Jakobsons”. And one half of Date Palms, indeed is, Marielle Jakobsons. But thanks to Greg Kowalsky’s way with an instrumental rock template, the two fuse like a honeycomb to worker bees: tightening up the interior devices (keyboards, electronics, flute and violin), pouring honey on the exterior, and tasting deliciously sweet…
The pieces all drift at a stately pace. “Yuba Source Part 1” does the trick of sounding like soundtrack music to a Western that never existed, such as it is bathed in descending violin whirlpools that keep soundscape suction via layering of electronics. “Six Hands To The Light” ascends comparatively to a luscious plane fit for kings of the synthetic drone, the introduction taking with it Steve Roach, Spheruleus and Simon Scott.
I’m fit to recall things, but where do these things fit in? The answer lies in concomitant circumspect with the overall picture and mapping one set of sounds onto others. “Yuba Source Part II”, for example, tempers the violin like a moving-featuring-Greg-Haines contemplation. The textures fizz gently like a bottle of sparkling water just uncapped. Sheets of polyester cotton keyboard melody gravitate the angles toward the sky.
Noah Philips, the final of three additional musicians to grace Date Palms, offers a purring, static-hum electric guitar growl over “Yuba Reprise”, whirling like the sands of time on a foreground of electric bass, provided by Ben Bracken. Tanpura also features on the record courtesy of Michael Elrod. Before the LP turns darker, “Night Riding The Skyline” wafts jetstreamed phasers across brittle synthesizer. It’s a ravishing violin companion.
The brightest petal of insight concerning Date Palms is this: they keep quality music at the forefront of their vision. This is one of those releases that will still sound as good as it does now 20 years down the line. Despite all the solo efforts; despite all the collaborations; despite the mass elaborations; despite the raw exhortations – one thing is clear: Date Palms are a band, and force, to be reckoned with.
“The Dusted Sessions” will be released in June 2013 on Thrill Jockey.