It all began on a "particularly cold and rainy winter day," Deupree explains in a candid label statement (candid, because he also admits to having a cat named "Pixel"). Reaching for a guitar, some looping pedals and a handful of other instruments, he set out to distill that familiar balance of warm, insular indoors and a damp, dreary outdoors. It was either that, or knit a scarf.
"Weather" is a creaking wheel of wispy drones, melancholy piano, murmuring voices, and scratchy artifacts. Absent, almost post-rock guitar appears at the midpoint, breaking up the static nature of the loops while inviting still deeper reverie. "Worn" is built from similar components, but has a cozier, more cottony quality. There's a touch of the familiar, too, with a looped bit of guitar recalling Music for Airports, and a recurring guitar warm-up that seems a direct reference to Talk Talk's "Ascension Day." (The resemblances may be coincidental, but the ancestry's certain.)
In addition to housing Deupree's first all-acoustic tracks, Weather & Worn also marks the first vinyl product of 12k's twelve-year history, inaugurating a new 7-inch line. The new sounds and new format take to one another swimmingly, the recordings practically painting a still-life of weathered, worn old 45s. And yet, I'd have liked a little more engaging of the limits imposed and opportunities afforded by this format—the matter of length, in particular. Confined to four minutes, the music pleads for a little more time. The vinyl attempts to alleviate this with run-out grooves on each side, but there's still a sense of unfinished business.
Perhaps a concession to the brevity issue, a digital bonus track gets it exactly right. A 23-minute, slowed-down work-over of "Worn" clears some elbow room to fully capitalize on an even sleepier pattern of repetition. Featuring more prominent post-recording treatments, it's fittingly dubbed the "Still Mix," and draws a straighter line connecting these new works to back catalog highlights like Stil: It revisits the tricks his fans came to love, but still asserts a continued interest in more organic directions.