Release date: 10/13/1999.
Japancakes' improvisational drone pop symphonies defy easy classification, stretching a single chord to its breaking point and picking up the pieces to create dense but inviting soundscapes which somehow find the common ground between the soothing wash of ambient and the propulsive energy of rock. For If I Could See Dallas, group ringleader Eric Berg and engineer Andy Baker handcrafted the disc's 11 instrumentals from snatches of studio performances, giving the songs a form and shape their live set no doubt lacks, but the cumulative effect is no less hypnotic -- for all of the record's cosmic glow, the recurring presence of steel guitar keeps the music rooted in terra firma, a paradox which makes the music that much more difficult to pinpoint in any single time or place. The evolutionary process which guides each song is almost imperceptibly subtle, their circular melodies shaded by analog synths and strings which bubble in and out of the mix -- creating music which arrives without travelling, Japancakes is that rare experiment as fascinating in practice as it is in theory. --ALL MUSIC GUIDE
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