Review: M. Sage - "The Receivers Peaking"

M. Sage - The Receivers Peaking
(Moon Glyph 2013)
"The feeling you have while walking at night, the last gasps of a rainstorm drizzling your hair"

I don't normally swoon over music that leans toward the more ambient end of the experimental spectrum, yet I can't help but fall head over heels with the latest cassette by Colorado's M. Sage. Although there's seemingly little action, The Receivers Peaking is captivating, with bright looping synths and light brushstrokes of crackling AM radio samples and subtle guitars that form an impressionistic landscape. Just like one has to take a few steps back to fully appreciate a Monet, this tape won't be fully satisfying until you listen to it start to finish. 

Side A, which is the more synthesizer-oriented half of The Recievers Peaking, opens with "Radio Slope". Extra-terrestrial tones simulate a night sky while whooshes of white noise that sound like cars splashing through puddles form the backdrop. It sounds like the feeling you have while walking at night, the last gasps of a rainstorm lightly drizzling your hair. A chilly breeze feels cozy on a light windbreaker, your glasses are clouded. "Fuji Station" is when the stars poke through the black, construction paper dome that shields the atmosphere, an artificial light bulb flooding through the peepholes. During "Campaign Cycles", you fall asleep to the television; the news is on. Words leak into your eardrums, but they never reach your brain. Eventually, your conscious slips away, and all is static...

It's morning, but even by the time "Ritual Ashes (For B. Brady)" starts up, the rain has stubbornly refused to cease. The guitar work here is chilling, evoking the twangy drawl of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Satie-esque keyboard notes splotching across the recording. That background static is finally stripped away on "The Apocryphal Atlases", a sprawling bird's-eye view of a cityscape. It's 12 minutes long, and I think it could be a tad shorter, but I really enjoyed the first 5 minutes of it. "An Angle of Grain" bubbles and pops with a faraway sound. There are almost fragments of rhythm here, but it could be an illusion. Looks like I've taken a more narrative approach with this review, but I really couldn't help myself. M. Sage does ambient music the right way: inspiring imagination. It's not just pretty, it's moving; a concept forgotten by many acts these days. An urgent memo to fans of Philip Glass, Erik Satie and Explosions In the Sky: Buy this now! 

Buy this tape and sample 2 tracks here -----> http://moonglyph.com/releases/mg51