Album Review

Ulaan Markhor – “Ulaan Markhor” – [Soft Abuse]

Thurston Hunger   6/6/2012   A Library, CD

Hey look, it’s the center of the world. Not a
diamond, not a gear, not an ancient dusty text,
but a minor chord. Steven R. Smith holds it in
his hands, carves it out of the fretboard of
his guitars and builds instrumental temples in
its honor. Not sure where his Ulaan Khol
dropped off and his Ulaan Markhor picks up,
both evidently are creatures that occupy the
lofty isolated crags of mountains. Something
about these goats gets mine, gorgeous animals
with wizened beards and innocent eyes, a good
oxymoron for the sounds here. Deep yet simple…
one can hum mindlessly or get lost deep in
thought. Or do I have that reversed? There’s a
timelessness to the tunes, often a rolling kind
of sea shanty vibe. Dexterity of distortion,
the sturdy stacking of guitars, Steven’s drums
are a bit more forceful (I had my old notes to
his “Tableland” release where I jotted down the
drums were mopey). Mope no more! These are more
sure-footed and sure-fisted. This beast is not
one for blood sacrifice, more the fleshly cloak
of the divine.

-Thurston Hunger

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