Alpha Couple – WHNZ:27:NJNYC

After their departure from Winnipeg, Alpha Couple conceived this album on the road. Driving/touring/vacationing/living/playing somewhat directionless, Jax and Wohlgemuth eventually ended up in Toronto, where they have both called home together before—when they created their Alpha Couple concept. Coincidentally, I didn’t listen to this album until I was on a road trip myself, entering the California border around witching hour. Gone are Stalingrad’s pop sensibilities, and (through oddly emphatic associations) it seems like there is no destination to these songs either—samples and vocals drift or wave or fly by, anchored around some loop, acoustic guitar, or piano riff. And in the exchange, AC have honed in on the haunting beauty that has been the driving force behind them all along. Most powerful is the behemoth-length album opener “A Walk Through Central Park” at nearly 15 minutes. Consisting of reverbed vocals, only three acoustic chords (if that), and samples from the radio and answering machines, the song is a testament to their self-prescribed label “tweenoise.” Two songs of reconstructed Stalingrad tracks marks Wohlgemuth and Jax (who, for full disclosure, is a Stylus writer) heading headfirst into noise/ambient territory. All in all, this is an eerier, darker release than their full-length—and up for grabs through the Free Music Archive. Worth the download for anyone wanting to get out of their comfort zone and experience some freshly charted areas of music. (We Have No Zen, Taylor Burgess

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