Aquarius Records

Worsted Weight

A fine new album from local darlings Charles Atlas, on UK's Ochre label who've released music by similarly dreamy outfits Windy & Carl, Fuxa, Magnetophone, Kawabata Makoto, A.M.P., etc. This is organic instrumental blissout music -- warm and human -- consisting mainly of heartbreakingly pretty arpeggiated piano and guitar chords whose gentle notes articulate themselves separately yet are moodily sustained for many seconds, a sonic tactic we've also heard wielded by Boards of Canada, but Charles Atlas is more sad and emotional. Reminds me of Sonna, Pan American, David Kilgour, and Tarentel, although Charles Atlas sets itself apart using gorgeous flourishes on warbly musical saw, quiet tinklings, female oohs and ahhs, cool trumpet, hollow ticktock clicks (a la Young Marble Giants). The chords are minor key and tension-filled yet still pastoral and hushed -- a very pleasant combination that prevents the album from becoming boring or sickly sweet. Very restrained, mature and introspective. Had enough of Boards of Canada? Give Charles Atlas' fresh take a try. Beautiful.