Taylor Deupree: Faint (12k)
12k bossman Taylor Deupree’s trajectory as an ambient sound artist has been slow but sure. After leaving behind his techno roots (having spent time as a core member of Prototype 909 in the 90s), he started up 12k exploring the outer limits of severe minimalism and overtly electronic glitch music. When Richard Chartier started up the sister label Line, 12k’s focus began to veer toward more organic and acoustic sounds, something warmer and less severe. Faint is Deupree’s latest statement, and its title is appropriate. It comes on like a warm, breathy whisper, hushed and human. Its lighter touch, in sounds that appear to include a Fender Rhodes and guitar, is a far cry from the severe error music of Occur, released over ten years ago. But it’s a lovely set of tracks that justify Deupree’s rather dramatic albeit gradual tonal shift over the years. He’s arrived at something more meditative, serene yet still ambitious. That his photography perfectly complements his music on this one is no accident; its obscured and abstracted, diffuse images are a match for the drowsy, warm embrace of his sounds. “Thaw” is especially gorgeous, consisting mostly of airy pads that are barely there and a warm textural crinkle. “Sundown” also shares this pastoral beauty, layered with surface noise and delicate glitches below that surface, slowly evolving into something that starts off pretty and becomes downright beautiful — just like its title suggests.