Saltland – I Thought it Was Us But it Was All of Us
Rebecca Foon is in some ways the archetypal Constellation artist, a Montreal-based cellist who has previously played in Thee Silver Mt. Zion and Set Fire To Flames. However, this project with Jamie Thompson eschews the overwrought melodrama of those acts for an intricate and understated approach, blending soft, tender vocals with strings, drones and electronica. Ominous GYBE!-style strings are in evidence, but Saltland balance them against unearthly synth chords, and resist the urge to pursue apocalyptic crescendos.
All of Us is at its most impressive on pieces like Unholy, which showcase Mark Lawson’s masterful engineering. Foon’s hypnotic vocals are intoned against a backdrop of seamlessly-mixed live and electronic percussion, delayed guitars, and droning strings; the whole merges dreamily into a single horizon, recalling the lush textures of Tara Jane O’Neil. Saltland may be a quintessential Constellation act in some respects, but the delicacy and restraint here lift them above the pack. [Sam Wiseman]