Minimalism isn't exactly thought of as kids' stuff, though laptoppers from Aphex Twin to Four Tet are always trying to mimic childlike feelings themselves. And Raymond Scott's Soothing Sounds for Baby makes it a point to soothe via repetitions that supposedly a baby can understand. Hamill, AKA RL/VL, is thankfully too young to understand the sadie-masie crawl supposedly required of minimalists, and whenever his small, melodic textures threaten to disappear they always return calmly, in themes and droves and memorable parts, from two minute intros to extended ponderings.
With its somewhat cynical title, it's a surprise that Chagrin is so sweet, evoking erotic sighs and moans heard off in the distance rather than one-bedroom alienation in a city hostel or something. "Utility," the four-note staircase that ushers in the record quickly cedes to the window thumps and let-me-in tugs of what sounds like processed violin before turning around to return home back through the snow in the cracked fog of "Four Piece Suite," which bears a strong Boards of Canada influence.
The underlying hook throughout the whole is that you can feel the spare alienation melting off every track, which become warmer and warmer as the thing wisps along at a floe pace. Happy bleeps lean over and tap your shoulder for strong Sunday morning coffee on "Dihn." "Cedar Point" drums on a glass piano and catches raindrops with a straw. "Kweens" is elegiac organ noise heard through the church basement window. And it never stops evoking, which is how you could tell there was youth in it without even knowing Hamill's only 18. The imagination's too wild and unrefined to sleep.
Thu / 19 Feb 2009
03. Four Piece Suite
04. Paint Covered Flags
06. Double Bed Sleep Pain Away – Part One
07. Double Bed Sleep Pain Away – Part Two
08. A Lake You Could Walk On
09. Double Bed Sleep Pain Away – Part Three
12. Cedar Point
13. Complaining Til the Bitter End