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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Geographic North unveils Windsor for the Derby single

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For all intents and purposes, Dan Matz and Jason McNeely — the core duo that remains at the heart of Austin, Texas’ Windsor for the Derby — have spent the last 15+ years mining the outer regions of guitar-based ambient music and post-rock elegance. When the group first emerged with 1996’s Calm Hades Float (Trance Syndicate), its MO was intrinsically connected to a specific era for an indie music scene that was drawn to the heady musical stylings of Tortoise, Labradford, Bedhead, Stars of the Lid, and the likes, albeit from a minimalist’s perspective. Chalk it up to the efforts of a young band who was influenced by the tides of the times, the collective subconscious, or whatever you want to call it. But as the old adage states, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, and in the case of the post-rock ’90s it was difficult to tell which bands were legitimately worth keeping an eye on, and which ones were just kind of riding a wave. Windsor for the Derby is one of those rare underdogs that quietly upped the anti, and when other groups fell to the wayside, Matz and Co. were survivors, tethered to an expansive body of atmospheric guitar textures that ebbed and flowed with subtle, dream-like motions, putting out records for Michael Gira's Young God, Aesthetics, and ultimately finding a home under the Secretly Canadian's wings.

It is to Matz’s and McNeely’s credit that after so many years Windsor For the Derby is still uncovering previously unexplored angles of the same musical terrain from which the group was born, while maintaining its dreamlike sense of minimalism. The group’s latest release, a two-song 7-inch for Geographic North’s “You Can't Hide Your Love Forever” series, unquestionably adheres to the label’s subconscious aesthetics of experimental progressiveness and melodic song craft.

On the A-side, “Speaker Special” threads the group’s atmospheric qualities through looped and subtle bass-tones and far-off melodies that drift like lingering echoes of a distant and very massive explosion somewhere deep in the cosmos.

On the B-side, “Heard Worse” follows suit, expanding with mangled textures, raga, and quiet tonal elegy.

In the meantime, in keeping with Geographic North’s tradition of having their artists put together a mixtape when their record drops, Matz has put together an hour+ compilation of hazy, lazy, and psychedelic atmospheres. Press play, tune in, and zone out.

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