50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

The Book of Knots: Garden of Fainting StarsThe Book of KnotsGarden of Fainting Stars (Ipecac, 6/14/11)

The Book of Knots: “Microgravity”

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Garden of Fainting Stars is the third installment in the “By Sea, By Land, By Air” trilogy of The Book of Knots, a collaborative studio project that’s built around the quartet of producer/musician Joel Hamilton, bassist Tony Maimone, drummer Matthias Bossi, and violinist Carla Kihlstedt. As on the previous two albums, the band delivers a dissonant yet melodic mix of pitch-bending, alien effects, and textured, metallic tones, and an all-star stable of guests again helps narrate the album’s tales, this time relating to aeronautics.

Garden of Fainting Stars, however, feels the most cohesive of the three albums, as the core group comes closer to perfecting its brand of disconsolate rock experimentation. The album’s guests, consisting of extended musical family, include Mike PattonTrey Spruance of Secret Chiefs 3Mike WattNils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables. It ends the trilogy in pessimism and mystery — fitting for an album that is self-described as a “wormless, rusty hook into the lifeless seas of the music industry, expecting to reap only sorrow.”

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