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Whaling Vessel 

Wednesday, Jan 6 2010
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Australia’s Chris Hearn has long made music as Alps, although he’s currently going by Alps of New South Whales. The name is a play on the Aussie state of New South Wales, where he’s based, and is also the name of his third album. Incidentally, every track on it — all streaming on his MySpace page — is named after a species of whale. That’s the extent of the project’s conceptual nature, however. There’s an appealing organic quality to the sounds he evokes: Tellingly, he cites Cluster and Flying Saucer Attack as influences, alongside Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. Droning organ evokes the ocean, and these songs also include low-budget electronics, muffled drums, and dreary vocals. Hearn is touring the States with Castanets before moving on to Europe. He has said he crafts his records while keeping in mind what he can pull off live, so expect a faithful representation when he takes the stage. And although Hearn can be relied on to mingle the quiet marvels of feedback, reverb, and pedal effects, each track is surprisingly distinct. There’s never the feeling he’s repeating himself.

Alps of New South Whales and Tiger Saw open for Castanets.
Tue., Jan. 19, 9 p.m., 2010

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Doug Wallen

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