The Appleseed Cast, Low Level Owl, Volumes I and II

The Appleseed Cast, Low Level Owl, Volumes I and II

What do you do when you make a critically-acclaimed, fanboy-approved and generally bad-ass epic concept album? If you’re The Appleseed Cast, you follow that puppy up with an even more epic (epic-er?) double concept album and hope that you pull it off. I mean, after Mare Vitalis, there was really no way to go but up, right? To some that would seem like an insurmountable task, but these boys from Lawrence, Kansas, succeed, in spades. In my head, listening to Low Level Owl, it was as if the band had redefined the purpose of their instruments, painting with lush broad strokes to create a seamlessly beautiful aural landscape. You’ll find one instrument or melody line blending into another, as well as one song blending into another…hell, even the discs blend together (“View Of A Burning City” is Volume I‘s closer, and is also the first track on Volume II). Even Christopher Crisci’s vocals are treated like instrumentation here; when he does sing, it’s just another sonic texture to add to the roiling whirlpool. Of course, in addition to a mastery of their existing effects, you’ll find the band has added new sounds to their arsenal: piano, samples, tape loops and reverse playback, all bringing to mind OK Computer, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Loveless, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot…you get the idea. That alone should be enough of a recommendation for Low Level Owl, but if that doesn’t do it for you, then I’ll say this: this is one of the most hauntingly beautiful things I’ve ever heard, and I personally believe that everyone reading should turn off the radio, get a copy of Low Level Owl, pop it in (preferably listening through headphones to get all of the subtle nuances), practice their shoe gaze, and head off on an insanely cool journey of sound.

(Deep Elm Records -- P.O. Box 36939, Charlotte, NC. 28236;; The Appleseed Cast --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, October 1st, 2003. Filed under Reviews.

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