The summer sun has come and gone, the autumn hours are shortening, but there’s still time for one more slip into the sunlight with Padang Food Tigers’ Bumblin’ Creed. For this release the duo of Stephen Lewis and Spencer Grady are aided by Norwegian harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland. The pair’s sound hearkens back to a time when the Jewelled Antler reigned supreme (at least in some circles) and there was a wealth of folk that captured the pastoral hum of a quiet afternoon spent alone in the woods with instruments picking. Padang Food Tigers, like many of the Antler collective, most predominantly The Blithe Sons, and with a direct line to formative bands like Heron before them, mix the tranquil meditative qualities of drone folk with an immersive ear for field recording.
The sounds of the forest are high in the mix on Bumblin’ Creed, but not in a way that seems distracting or gimmicky. Instead the album feels recorded in the elements, responding to the burble of waters and the wind in trees, playing off of nature as if it were just one other member in an ensemble of improvisers gathered for an afternoon spent vibing off the creaking hum of Apeland’s harmonium. The pair bend and pluck at their guitars with a subtle nuance and never let pristine be a word that enters their headspace. The hum of the tape, the rustle of the trees, the chill in the air can almost be felt right through the microphones. It’s an album that brings back a flood of feelings for the early aughts. There were plenty of albums that let in the perfect equilibrium that psych folk had to offer and this is the kind of crowning jewel that ruled the scene. I’ve been personally pining for a bit of this to come eking back and the Tigers and Apeland have captured the magic that made ’03-’04 a time of hushed beauty. Truth is no time can hold a recording like this, its as timeless as it its boundless, and for that reason worth a run through your headphones ASAP.
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