Shipping News
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Save Everything, 6.5/10
Very Soon And In Pleasant Company , 7/10
Three-Four , 5/10 (EP)
Flies The Fields (2005), 6/10
One Less Heartless To Fear (2010), 5/10
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Rodan's guitarists Jeff Mueller and Jason Noble reunited when they formed Shipping with drummer Kyle Crabtree, and recorded the oblique, undulating jams of Save Everything (1997). They refined their approach with the slow-forming filigrees of Very Soon And In Pleasant Company (2000), impersonating not so much brainy improvisers as consummate storytellers spinning enigmatic tales, full of twists and surprises. Rodan's wreckage of classical harmony left behind flotsam of dub-like ecstasy and hard-rock fits.
(Translation by Cinzia Russi/ Tradotto da Cinzia Russi)

Louisville's Shipping News advances a thoroughly modern kind of experimental rock, with bristling riffs, chameleon-like rhythms and convoluted harmonies. It's no surprise that the band's members are veterans of the Louisville noise-rock scene: Jeff Mueller (now in June Of 44) and Jason Noble (now in Rachel's) are both ex-members of Rodan and Kyle Crabtree pounded the skins in Eleven Eleven.

The six songs on Save Everything assume a different type of behavior amid the current types of heavy music, from the unsociable and nervous rock of "Books On Training" to the dreamy stream of consciousness of "All By Electricity." The band arouses much more interest on "Steerage," one big fragment of drifting dub and hard-rock, and "To True Lover's Knot," full of slim filigrees of almost transcendent quality. Often Shipping News arrive at a type of environmental music: music of atmosphere, in which nothing seems to happen, built with elementary pieces of sound. The band's complex music nevertheless manages to explore emotional limits and harmonic frontiers farther than most of its heavy rock colleagues could begin to.

Gli Shipping News, formati da veterani del Kentucky, propongono un rock sperimentale, articolato attorno a riff ispidi, ritmiche camaleontiche e armonie cervellotiche. Jeff Mueller (June Of 44) e Jason Noble (Rachel's), entrambi ex Rodan, formarono il progetto nel 1996. Il batterista Kyle Crabtree (Eleven Eleven) si uni` nel 1997.

I sei brani di Save Everything (Quarterstick, 1997) riassumono tutto sommato altrettanti modi diversi di fare musica di questa corrente, dal rock scontroso e nervoso di Books On Trains al deliquio onirico di All By Electricity. Maggior interesse destano comunque i frammenti di dub e di hard-rock che vanno alla deriva nei dieci minuti di Steerage e le tenui filigrane quasi trascendenti di A True Lover's Knot. Spesso questa musica per trio rock e` l'equivalente della musica ambientale: musica d'atmosfera, in cui non sembra succedere nulla, costruita con pezzi elementari di suono.

Very Soon And In Pleasant Company (Quarterstick, 2000) finds the Shipping News' core unit of Jason Noble, Jeff Mueller, and Kyle Crabtree augmented by sound engineer Christina Files and with outside help from members of Noble's other group, the Rachel's. These additions allow the Shipping News to truly offer the best of two worlds: the skewed, conceptual harmonies of June Of 44 (of which Mueller was a principal) and the quasi-classical scores of Rachel's.
The undulating The March Song builds a bridge between hard rock and jazz rock, leveraging cubistic guitar and bass duets. The instrumental Nine Bodies Nine States is slightly more atonal, while the lengthy and subdued Quiet Victories lets a whisper drift over spare beats and then musters visceral forces to counter its lethargy. The effect is psychedelic and otherworldly.
The equally long Contents Of A Landfill achieves the same kind of hazy trance but the music sinks into the serene dejection of a Tim Buckley or Nick Drake before rising again in an heavenly guitar-driven theme. Actual Blood is a bluesy, mournful dirge augmented with piano and cello. Later, the soft, liquid strumming of How To Draw Horses conjures Bach for the math-rock generation.
The trio has found a format that is less cerebral and more malleable. The music flows naturally, the instruments chat warmly and peacefully, and melodic undercurrents provide the center of gravity. While certainly not pop, Shipping News write "songs" that do not indulge in difficult passages and progressive-rock constructions. It feels more like a consummate storyteller spinning a tale, albeit an unusual one, full of twists and surprises.

Three-Four (Quarterstick, 2003) compiles three EPs, Carrier, Variegated and Sickening Bridge, for which each of the three members contributed "solo" songs, and adds three new songs. The highlights are Noble's eight-minute Paper Lanterns, Crabtree's extended instrumental Haymaker, the stripped-down psychedelia of Variegated and the post-rock romp of You Can't Hide the Mark Inside. But the album as a whole is not justified. Each of the three EPs was a very minor work, and the whole is worth less than its parts.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Paolo Latini)

Very Soon, And In Pleasant Company (Quarterstick, 2000) presenta gli Shipping News nella loro unità corale con Jason Noble, Jeff Mueller, e Kyle Crabtree, unità aumentata dall'ingegnere del suono Christina Files e coadiuvata dall'aiuto amico di membri dell'altro gruppo di Noble, i Rachel's. Queste aggiunte permettono agli Shipping News di offrire il meglio dei due mondi: le oblique armonie concettuali dei June of '44, (dei quali Mueller era un personaggio di spicco) e le score quasi-classiche dei Rachel's.
L'ondulatoria The March Song erige un ponte tra l'hard rock ed il jazz-rock, facendo leva su duetti cubisti di chitarra e basso. Lo strumentale Nine Bodies Nini States tocca l'atonalità, e la lunga e docile Quiet Victory lascia un soffio di corrente su battiti frugali per poi adunare forze viscerali per ribattere il suo letargo. L'effetto è psichedelico e alieno.
Egualmente lunga Contents Of A Landfill raggiunge lo stesso genere di trance nebbiosa, ma la musica affonda nel sereno abbattimento di un Tim Buckley o di un Nick Drake prima di risorgere in un paradisiaco tema chitarristico. Actual Blood è una messa blues e funerea, impreziosita da pianoforte e violoncello. Più tadi, il soffice, liquido strimpellio di How To Draw Horses evoca lo spirito di Bach per la generazione math-rock.
Il trio ha trovato un formato meno cerebrale e più malleabile. La musica fluisce naturalmente, gli strumenti dialogano calmi e pacifici, e correnti melodiche fissano il centro di gravità. Sebbene non siano certamente pop, gli Shipping News scrivono "canzoni" che non si perdono in passaggi difficili o nelle costruzioni del rock progressivo. Sembra più di vedere un narratore navigato che prolunga una favola, una inusuale, piena di colpi di scena e sorprese.

Three-Four (Quarterstick, 2003) raccoglie tre EP, Carrier, Variegated e Sickening Bridge, eni quali ognuno dei tre membri provvede con delle proprie composizioni, e aggiunge tre altre canzoni. Le cose migliori sono gli otto minuti di Noble Paper Lanters, lo strumentale esteso di Crabtree Haymaker, la psichedelia spoglia dk Variegated e il divertimento post-rock You Can't Hide Your Mask Inside. Ma l'album nella sua interezza non ha giustificazioni. Ciasuno dei tre EP rappresentava di per sé un lavoro minore, e l'intero ha addirittura meno valore della somma delle sue parti.

Flies The Fields (Quarterstick, 2005) is one of the albums that evoke most closely Slint's turbulent unemotional anti-epos. The instrumental Louven, Demon and It's Not Too Late are representative of a style that has become a classic form of art. The only drawback is that... we heard this before.

One Less Heartless To Fear (2010) compiles live performances of mostly unreleased songs from 2006 and 2009 that demonstrate a much more aggressive stance.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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