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Simulacrenfield | Parlour.net

Simulacrenfield

We’ve long been fans of this Louisville post rock supergroup, featuring members of Crain, Ariel M, The For Carnation, and Rodan. Simulacrenfield might just be their best yet. Mesmerizing and hypnotic, equal parts melodic meander and rhythmic churn, they often sound like a heavier Tortoise, locking into hypnotic, almost jazzy grooves, but without being afraid to infuse those jams with thick distorted guitar crunch, tangled complex woodwind interplay or buzzing sci-fi synth shimmer. With an arsenal that includes clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone and synthesizer, augmenting the classic rock guitar / bass / drums (not to mention some banjo here and there), these guys craft gorgeous, timeless instrumental post rock, the sort few bands play anymore, and even fewer can pull off.
The opener, “Destruction Paper” perfectly displays everything that’s so good about these guys, a dizzying blend of post/math/kraut rock, the horns and synths adding so much breadth to the group’s sound, standing in for vocals in a way that keeps the sound from getting boring, while simultaneously elevating the sound, adding a sort of prog/art rock element. “Camus” is more of the same, the band locked tight, the core instruments laying out an irresistible groove, while the horns wind and whirl and intertwine. The banjo on “Jalepenooptics” totally transforms the song into some sort of strange twang flecked post/kraut workout, the horns giving it a sort of chamber ensemble vibe, and definitely reminding us of Tortoise again.
Over the next few songs, the sound swings from dark Slinty brood, to almost Decemberists sounding Victorian jangle, to Godspeed like slow build and finally to the nearly 11 minute closer “Sea Of Bubbly Goo”, which also has some serious Slint going on, the guitar parts creepy and skeletal, drifting amongst clouds of cymbal shimmer, gradually growing more and more propulsive, the sound fantastically tense and hypnotic, the tempo building, effects whirling, the horns adding plenty of melody, finally exploding in a skronky, crunchy, epic denouement, before fading out into a cloud of rumbling slow fading distorted low end. AWESOME. Definitely for fans of Tortoise, Chevreuil, Trans Am, Circle, Fridge, Maserati, Explosions In The Sky, Resonator, Salvatore, Woodsman and various other practitioners of the lost art of post/math rock…

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http://exclaim.ca
By Daniel Sylvester

Five years after their last recording, and eight years after their last LP, Tim Furnish has reshuffled his Parlour project, releasing Simulacrenfield just in time for the post-rock resurgence expected around 2012. Joined by members of Rodan and Aerial M, Parlour layer guitars, synths, sax and clarinet before being pulled apart by the thundering tectonics of drummer Jon Cook. Thanks to the dual attack of Craig McClurkin’s tenor saxophone and Steve Good’s bass clarinet, songs like “Camus” and “Sea of Bubbly Goo” benefit from the added low-end groove, while “Wedder” and “Carrier” come off more fluid and driving than most of their post-rock contemporaries. Deftly combining Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s knack for majestic fervour with Don Caballero’s unbridled energy and Broken Social Scene’s structureless structures, Parlour aren’t offering up anything new on Simulacrenfield. But with a tight cast and an even tighter sound, it’s a precursor to what the kids will be copping this decade.
(Temporary Residence)

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Foxy Digitalis Blog
Parlour, “Simulacrenfield”
November 10, 2010

Chiming, hypnotic and heavy, Parlour are an instrumental outfit to reckon with.  “Simulacrenfield” brims with gothic, folk and plain ol’ guitar n amp blather.  Worth it for “Camus” alone, which in one song evokes gypsy music, American folk-rock, Celtic and Pere Ubu—in under six minutes!

“Jalepenooptics” comes on like a folk-Mod mutant hybrid; the title track also borrows from the Skinny-Tie era, but adds some shimmy of its own.  “Carrier,” “Sea of Bubbly Goo” and “Wedder” channel Gang of Four’s jittery distance.  The recent addition of former Rodan drummer Jon Cook has resulted in a hard as iron bottom to these songs, while the guitar and brass is as usual both tight and inviting.

“Simulacrenfield” shows Parlour at the top of their game.  They are one of those bands where you can tell right away who their influences are, but not quite; they deliver such direct but complex music that it is clear that, whoever their tutors, they have made those influences their own, and added vision on top.  This will work wonders for musicians as well as the casual listener.

Temporary Residence

8/10

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Spectrum Culture

Parlour:  Simulacrenfield
October 14, 2010 4:28 PM

Rating 3.1/5

It’s maybe unavoidable to approach non-classical, non-jazz, indie-instrumental music without throwing around the term “post-rock.” It’s a term that has its limitations, but is useful in describing Louisville collective Parlour’s new release Simulacrenfield (say that five times fast), their first full-length album since 2002’s Googler. Led by guitarist/scene veteran Tim Furnish, who has roots in bands like Cerebellum and Crain, Parlour has been around for nearly a decade, but seem to take their time between releases. Swollen to a seven-piece for this album, including some of Furnish’s former bandmates, they have expanded the standard guitar-bass-drums lineup to include synths, clarinets and saxes.

In positioning them in the post-rock pantheon, they’re not as ferocious as Mogwai, as brooding and political as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, but neither are they as noodly and cerebral as Chicago bands like The Sea and Cake. One of the band’s distinguishing factors is their sense of humor in what can be a rather dour genre. An earlier album was called Octopus Off-Broadway, the cover of Googler is a bunch of googly eyes and song titles here include “Sea of Bubbly Goo” and “Jalepenooptics.” That’s not to say that the music is particularly light or humorous, but it does nicely undermine any pretentiousness, even on an album with a song called “Camus.”

Simulacrenfield is dense and textured and works as a piece, which is one of its strengths. It opens with the dynamic “Destruction Paper,” which avoids the slow build of many post-rock songs, but hits immediately with its tight rhythms, clean keyboards and warm horns, which provide much of the melody and color. It doesn’t divert much from this template, but the band make the most of it and vary the textures of “Camus” by adding strings to the mix. “Jalepenooptics” is not a Tex-Mex song, but this midpoint in the album is where the band slows things down a little, creating nice, lulling atmospherics, before acclerating and allowing fluid guitars to take prominence. The title track has the spacey, psych-like rush of early Pink Floyd and a disciplined, Krautrock drive. It could be the soundtrack to a tense and dramatic movie scene and you almost wish there were vocals to give you a better sense of what it’s about.

The relatively concise “Carrier” foregrounds the horns again and locks into something of a heavy jazz fusion groove. The 10-minute closer “Sea of Bubbly Goo” may be the most ambitious and expansive song on the album. It’s too tightly constructed to live up to its title, but it does hit with an oceanic force. It begins slowly and deliberately, moves into more spacey territory and then streamlines and heads out on Neu!’s autobahn – “Hallogallo” in particular – before erupting around the eight-minute mark in a way that seems as if it will totally come apart. It doesn’t so much end as exhaust itself.

Coming in at around 42 minutes, Simulacrenfield avoids the sprawl and self-importance that can plague post-rock albums. The expressive, varied drumming by Jon Cook (Crain, Rodan) is particularly strong throughout, keeping the songs solid and rooted and putting the rock in post-rock. It’s not an album that breaks new ground or expands the horizons of the genre, but it is likely to be one of the most vivid, energetic and skillfully played instrumental albums of the year.

by Lukas Sherman

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[cd, Temporary Residence/Konkurrent]
http://www.subjectivisten.nl/caleidoscoop/

Translated here

Tim Furnish leer ik kennen in 1994 als zanger van de band Crainmet de cd Heater. Gepassioneerde, boze gitaarmuziek in het straatje van Fugazi, Henry Rollins, Nirvana, Shellac en Rodan. In die laatste band is hij ook te gast en tevens is hij te horen bij The For Carnation en Aerial M. Crain verdwijnt ineens van het toneel, maar in 2002 wordt en de debuut lp van Crain heruitgegeven en duikt voor het eerst het project Parlour op. Dat blijkt het nieuwe, veel rustiger project van Tim Furnish te zijn. Met zijn nieuwe band maakt hij repetitieve, jazzy postrock. Het zit veelal in de hoek van Tortoise, maar vaak iets meer uitgesproken. Hij heeft hiermee reeds de cd’s Octopus Off-Broadway (2002) en Googler (2003) gemaakt. In 2005 verschijnt de mini Hives Fives, waarop hij met zes anderen een prachtig geluid neerzet. Gewapend met gitaren, synthesizers, blaasinstrumenten en drums klinken ze overtuigender dan ooit. De repetitieve elektronische muziek krijgt nu ballen door Legendary Pinkdots-achtige blaaspartijen, krautrock met een drive à la Neu!, de licht dissonante experimenten van Sonic Youth en de nachtelijke jazzclub-sfeer van Tortoise. De wilde haren van weleer zijn duidelijk vervangen door een geraffineerde coupe. Dan breekt er wederom een periode van stilte aan die nu zachtjes doorbroken wordt met Simulacrenfield. Tim (gitaar, synthesizers) brengt samen met zes muzikanten, waaronder Jon Cook (Crain, Rodan), op drums, synthesizers, (bas)klarinet, tenorsax, gitaar en bas een geluid ten gehore dat ligt in de lijn van de mini van vijf jaar terug. Het geluid is nu nog iets rustiger geworden, maar kent ook zeker heftiger postrock-stukken zoals in “Wedder”, het titelnummer en Sea Of Bubbly Goowaarbij in de laatste 2 ook de motorik welig tiert. Sowieso is de ritmesectie ijzersterk op dit album. Het is een geweldige hybride van elektronica, rock en avant-garde geworden, die weet te beklijven en biologeren. Denk aan een instrumentale optelsom van Slint, The For Carnation, Three Mile Pilot, Neu!, The Legendary Pink Dots, Tortoise, Shellac en Do Make Say Think. Hun allerbeste en meest complete album tot nu toe! Ik hoop alleen dat Furnish niet weer 5 jaar nodig heeft om iets geniaals te bedenken. Aan de andere kant als het zulke platen oplevert, soit.

door Jan Willem Broek

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DECOY MUSIC

After the disbandment of his band Crain in the mid-90’s, Tim Furnish created Parlour as nothing more than an experimental solo project. With three full-lengths and one EP under their belts, Parlour have grown into the woodwind-wielding oddballs they are today thanks to the septet’s original creative pursuits. On their latest record, Simulacrenfield, the band continue their tradition of quirky song titles and instrumental experiments while straying a bit from the mellow, meditative qualities of their first two albums, Octopus Off-Broadway and Googler. While there is a lot to admire as far as ambition goes, these seven songs feel less like a cohesive album and more like a collection of modest jam sessions.

“Destruction Paper” starts things off with a bang, showing Parlour at their most commanding. The saxophones and what sound like glockenspiels weave in and out of the guitars over a consistent one-two beat, and the clarinet pops up to prove that these guys haven’t lost their sense of humor. If the whole record had followed this track as a stylistic example, Simulacrenfield would offer a more resonating effect with the listener instead of a hefty amount of indifference. Songs like “Camus,” “Wedder” and “Carrier” all go down smoothly enough on the first listen, but by the time the ten and a half minute closer “Sea of Bubbly Goo” wraps everything up, nothing seems to stick out other than the inventive use of nontraditional instruments. With that said, however, the interesting combination of woodwinds, electronics and traditional rock instruments warrants at least a listen or two. “Jalapenooptics” stands out amongst the jams, featuring tight sax and guitar harmonies and a surprisingly bold climax, and “Simulacrenfield” sounds like a western in space. Still, it’s difficult to comment on the record as a whole, as the songs don’t mesh into a single vision. Maybe that’s what the band intended, but the rest of us are left with some good ideas and no place to go.

–Jeff VanVickle

_____

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Simulacrenfield
Parlour
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE
By Mat Herron of Leo Weekly

The mutating instrumental ensemble led by guitarist Tim Furnish hasn’t released a new studio album since 2002. The current lineup finds him enlisting Cerebellum cohorts Breck Pipes and Jon Cook on guitars and drums, respectively. Add to the mix Sapat’s Steve Good on bass clarinet, tenor sax player Craig McClurkin, Mac Finley on synth and bassist Nadeem Siddiqi, and it’s anyone’s guess what the surprises will be. On the 2005 EP, Hives Fives, Furnish left behind a more electronically inclined version of Parlour; Simulacrenfield is organic in its continuation. The revolving carousel of Good’s clarinet and Finley’s synth parts on “Destruction Paper” pulls you into the band’s polychromatic world and leaves you stranded. The snaky melodies of “Camus” lead you down an ominous path, while “Jalapenooptics” is an exercise in tension and release. The 10-minute closer “Sea of Bubbly Goo” is not for the unimaginative.

Click here for interview.

September 29, 2010
Group therapy

Parlour anchors Cropped Out Festival
BY MAT HERRON

Parlour unveiled its first album in nearly a decade last week, but they’re continuing to celebrate the record release. In advance of this weekend’s Cropped Out Festival, a three-day event organized by Sophomore Lounge Records owner Ryan Davis and New York talent buyer James Ardery, Parlour’s Tim Furnish tells where he’s been.

LEO: Why so long between studio albums?

Tim Furnish: There have been many setbacks. Since the 2002 release of the first two albums, Octopus Off-Broadway and Googler, I’ve had what amounts to three major line-up changes. It’s been difficult maintaining a strong line-up long enough to make a cohesive album. People lose interest or go through hard times. It’s been a rollercoaster of a time experiencing many highs and lows trying to craft this most recent body of songs. As bandleader, it’s quite the challenge to manage and depend on a group of folks I’ve brought together to help unfold my vision. We all have our own set of personal complexities, issues and lives to live, and it’s been a constant struggle to channel our energies into making this the best we can. I am super appreciative of all who have played their part. It’s taken forever, but I have finally made the record I wanted to make. I like to think that people who like our music will appreciate that concern. Good things can come to those who wait.

LEO: You’re joined by Jon Cook and Breck Pipes, with whom you have collaborated in various capacities since the 1980s. What was the experience like this time around, now that you all are older and even more sophisticated in terms of taste?

TF: Bringing my old friend and musical comrade Jon Cook, from Crain, back into my musical process has been exciting, though very trying. I’ve had a rather tumultuous relationship with him over the years, and I felt I was taking a great risk in rekindling our musical partnership. Circumstances at the time seemed ripe to bring a positive activity into his life, and I was certainly eager to have his magical touch on my music. He plays like no other. I consider him one of the best drummers I’ve ever known. He had been hanging with our old friend Breck Pipes, from Cerebellum, and suggested we bring him in on guitar to Parlour. It was a fantastic idea. Breck brings a great interest in sound design through manipulating his guitar output with a myriad of effects. In addition to holding down essential patterns, he generates an atmosphere that complements the rich orchestration of everyone else.

Evolved taste is inevitable with age. It’s not always reflective of higher complexity, but perhaps in finding simplicity.

LEO: What goals did you want to accomplish with Simulacrenfield that maybe you didn’t in Parlour’s previous incarnations?

TF: The main goal was to continue with the expanded organic live septet as introduced with the Hives Fives EP, but with a new line-up. This motley group is more aggro and harsh around the edges. With Jon Cook in the mix, I even like to consider it an extension of (Crain). I’ve got a huge repository of musical ideas dating back to 1994 that I keep going back to and pulling from. Several tunes (“Camus” and “Carrier”) on Simulacrenfield were conceived as far back as 1995. I just want to keep forging ahead, building from old sketches and new inspirations. With the release of this album, I want to push harder than ever on getting it heard on a national and international level. For way too long, I’ve not been pro-active enough in getting out there and sharing what we have. I’m gonna give it my all. Hopefully we will gain momentum and become more productive. Fingers are crossed.

LEO: You’re a “Lost” fan. Your thoughts on how the series wrapped?

TF: I think it wrapped up much safer and obvious than I’d hoped for. I was OK with it, but I wished for more along the lines of Faraday’s time/space/parallel universe-cutting-edge-sci-fi-physics-centered explanation. I wanted my mind blown. It was not. It was an incredible series, though.

—–

http://www.decoymusic.com/reviews/parlour-simulacrenfield

After the disbandment of his band Crain in the mid-90’s, Tim Furnish created Parlour as nothing more than an experimental solo project. With three full-lengths and one EP under their belts, Parlour have grown into the woodwind-wielding oddballs they are today thanks to the septet’s original creative pursuits. On their latest record, Simulacrenfield, the band continue their tradition of quirky song titles and instrumental experiments while straying a bit from the mellow, meditative qualities of their first two albums, Octopus Off-Broadway and Googler. While there is a lot to admire as far as ambition goes, these seven songs feel less like a cohesive album and more like a collection of modest jam sessions.

“Destruction Paper” starts things off with a bang, showing Parlour at their most commanding. The saxophones and what sound like glockenspiels weave in and out of the guitars over a consistent one-two beat, and the clarinet pops up to prove that these guys haven’t lost their sense of humor. If the whole record had followed this track as a stylistic example, Simulacrenfield would offer a more resonating effect with the listener instead of a hefty amount of indifference. Songs like “Camus,” “Wedder” and “Carrier” all go down smoothly enough on the first listen, but by the time the ten and a half minute closer “Sea of Bubbly Goo” wraps everything up, nothing seems to stick out other than the inventive use of nontraditional instruments. With that said, however, the interesting combination of woodwinds, electronics and traditional rock instruments warrants at least a listen or two. “Jalapenooptics” stands out amongst the jams, featuring tight sax and guitar harmonies and a surprisingly bold climax, and “Simulacrenfield” sounds like a western in space. Still, it’s difficult to comment on the record as a whole, as the songs don’t mesh into a single vision. Maybe that’s what the band intended, but the rest of us are left with some good ideas and no place to go.

–Jeff VanVickle

—–

http://www.jerseybeat.com/quinlan-chronicles.html
PARLOUR – Simulacrenfield (www.temporaryresidence.com)

Instrumental acts can be a tough nut; they are usually a fascinating experiment or a complete disharmonic mess that loses its luster quickly. Then, there is a band like Parlour. This Louisville, Kentucky outfit has been morphing into and molting from, a multitude of styles and schemes for over fifteen years. On Simulacrenfield, the guys expand to a seven man line up including former Rodan drummer Jon Cook and the return of Steve Good. The result is winding, expansive ride through seven complex and labyrinthine efforts. The songs reflect a wide array of emotions, from melancholy to joyous, and quite often these polarized feelings are visited and revisited within the same track. Since most of the material clocks in or around the five minute mark (with the closing “Sea of Bubbly Goo” existing for over ten), the band has plenty of room to experiment with mood, structure, and tempo. While “Jalepenooptics” is more thunderous and tightly wound, “Camus” and “Wedder” seem to muddle along with a more deliberate gait. To my astonishment, none of this becomes repetitive or predictable, as Parlour seems to reinvent itself as the disc progresses. The driving title track includes heavily textured interludes which are highly unexpected and border on chaotic before regaining composure. The briefest nugget of the bunch, “Carrier” is decorated with neatly placed saxophone, again providing an unexpected treat. The closing, meandering “Sea of Bubbly Goo” brings all the band’s talents together into one cauldron of overflowing potion. From Tim Furnish’s guitar intricacy to the polyrhythmic time structure, it is a dazzling way to complete a challenging but highly enthralling record.

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10-in-10 CD reviews
http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/vibes/2010/10/01/10-in-10-cd-reviews-76/

Parlour Simulacrenfield — First studio album since 2002 offers solid instrumental ensemble grooves.

Official web site for the group, Parlour, based in Louisville, KY