Label: We Are Busy Bodies
Preorder: Releases July 8th, 2023
The group’s 2021 debut Noteland was described as “akin to getting stuck in a sensory deprivation tank with Keith Jarrett.” By contrast Astral Plains opens up, offering spacious and blue-sky arrangements and production. Perhaps it’s closer to laying in a prairie field looking for animals in the clouds with Mark Hollis. Peace Flag Ensemble brings together a curious range of artistic backgrounds from studied players to left-field experimentalists. Their recordings are a pastiche of improvisation, composition, and collage. Centered around Jon Neher’s piano improvisations and Travis Packer’s electric bass, Astral Plains sees the collective expanded in both size and sound with the addition of percussionist Michael Thievin and contributions from guests including Patrick Shiroishi and Nick Walters. It was produced and mixed by ambient artist Michael Scott Dawson, who also provides subtle electronics, guitars, and field recordings. Paul Gutheil and Dalton Lam, on saxophone and trumpet respectively, provide linear and melodic passages tempered by restraint. They also allow Dawson to recontextualize their contributions through effects and tape manipulation. The result is a nuanced and joyous record that finds clarity through experimentation.
Limited to 500 copies on black vinyl.