The White EP
9/19/2008 - Review by: Raising Iron
Inducive, and not intrusive
For those of you not aware, fortunate, or insightful enough to snag Agalloch's latest EP, simply entitled, "The White EP", then my sympathies go out to you in your quest to pick it up, as it's pressing is limited to a mere 2500 copies, all of which are sold out and already commanding prices of $40 to $60 on ebay. If you're not aware, their 2001 limited press EP, "Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor", regularly sells for over $100 and I've seen it go as high as $230, so if you're a die-hard collector and still need this one, shell out the bones now, for it's only going to increase in desirability.
Now, the question is, is it worth the price? Well, for one, it is Agalloch, who have yet to release a disappointing album. If you're not familiar with these Northwestern Oregon woods-dwellers (their name is derived from a tree!), then this EP is probably not the place to start to get a true feel for what they are all about as "The White EP" is a seven song collection of acoustic melancholic tracks recorded over roughly the last four years but never released. So, the thrust of this release is to tide the fans over until the release of their next opus, and to answer our earlier question, it certainly is meritorious of some extra cash since the stellar writing team of John Haughm (vocals, guitar) and Don Anderson (guitar) provide a quiet, solitary, arboreal excursion with this effort.
Here we have an entirely instrumental release, quick to digest at a mere 32 minutes long, aside from a bit of spoken word, some whispered word, and some samples of children playing. There's also dialogue (from a film?) massaged into one of the tracks as well. Most of the songs revolve around acoustic guitars, pining away the minutes in dour indifference, with a lot of unique percussion underlying the prose.
This issue reminds me a lot of Opeth's "Damnation", a shorter album perfect for a respite from all that is heavy, fast, and loud. This record will give you a chance to take a few contemplative moments alone, the music being inducive, and not intrusive to your thoughtful meditations. Hell, all of Agalloch is as such, but "The White EP" squarely resides at the mellowest end of their musical spectrum.
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