Download: Mountains’ Bubbly “Thousand Square”


Meditative blisscrafters Mountains are Brooklyn’s finest young purveyors of pillowy drifts, true masters of the airy drone. Over six fantastically fluffy years, Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp have explored different combinations of otherworldy hum and fluttery post-Fahey acoustic pluckage, but Air Museum (out May 10 via Thrill Jockey) launches the pair straight into the space-rock cosmos. Though the two claim Air Museum is simply bursting with acoustic instruments, their surely enviable pedal boards make everything ooze in liquid ecstasy like the gushiest, synthiest, most future-shocked, run-from-Big-Brother, robo-fucked Tangerine Dream records. One track even sounds like Vangelis’ “Chariots Of Fire” score if it were remixed into a Growing-style charred blast.

“Thousand Square,” in which the duo explores rhythm more than on past releases, has the sunny synthetic bubbles of krautrock cosmonauts like Harmonia, panning speakers, and getting into polyrhythmic chit-chat–all tethered to this planet by a field recording of people walking around inside a church in Jerusalem.

Download: [audio-1]

Q&A: Mountains’ Koen Holtkamp on “Thousand Square”

What is “Thousand Square” about? What does the title mean?

It’s meant to be fairly open-ended to let the listener come up with their own interpretations. A specific description of nothing in particular.

How was it created?

It’s very much a studio production versus a live track. We set up a few shifting analog synth sequences that were slightly out of sync with one another and then both played guitar and electronics over that. Most of our recordings in the past have been pretty much live so this was a different approach for us. The whole piece was composed, recorded and edited in a day.

What equipment did you you use to make it?

I put together a small modular synth setup in the last year, which involves a lot of patching together different modules that communicate via control voltages. Given the hands-on approach of patching things together the line between hiccups and intention gets kinda blurred, which is part of what makes the process so enjoyable.

Do you have to be in a particular mindstate when you record? Does the studio have to look and feel a certain way?

Well there’s always the ideal situation of being in the middle of nowhere but I think living in a place as hectic as NYC just being able to have a space where you can get away step back and focus on listening versus whatever else is going on in your life helps quite a bit. Low lighting, very little distraction and wine seem to work for us a well.

What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in New York?

I sorta miss the Tonic days. There was a real sense of community around that place.

What’s your favorite place to eat in New York?

I really enjoy cooking, so I’d say “home.” But aside from that… New Malaysia Restaurant in Chinatown or the Indian diner under the 59th Street bridge in Queens.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 14, 2011

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