Brookland/Oaklyn is the debut, bicoastal collaboration between the production/beatmaking of anticon's Alias and the voice and inspiration of Rona "Tarsier" Rapadas of New York's cinematronic duo, Healamonster & Tarsier. The project began with one fluke email and remained faceless for 21 months as they recorded their respective musical roles (without first meeting or even knowing the other).
The title of Alias's maiden voyage into wordless work-Muted-was as ironic as it was literal. While he had left his physical voice behind in favor of letting his hands do the talking (on drum machines, synths, guitars, and the occasional set of heartstrings), his hands spoke loud and clear. Within three months of Muted's release, he was booked for two more albums. First Lillian (a collaboration with his virtuoso younger brother Ehren), and now Brookland/Oaklyn, which picks up where the former dropped us off-out on a wintry plane cracking with new warmth, hovering somewhere over the contiguous United States. 'Cub' begins Brookland/Oaklyn with a smile. The album's first song enters with a light and steady pulse, a slow build of entwined keys, and Tarsier's rich and dulcet voice singing of a child's unhindered love for life. She plays the chanteuse, drawing the listener in while Alias coaxes the song out its shell-gradually building it up and coating the entire thing with a fine layer of frost. Tarsier's transcendent voice breathes icy air as the smile turns down at its corners and rolls into 'Rising Sun,' a lyrical ode to metamorphosis. Off-kilter drums, loops and chopped static set the tone and a jeweled synth line announces the return of our heroine. Here Alias returns to the hard drums and boom-bap-infused atmospheres which tinted Muted; Tarsier walks a beautiful line somewhere between Bjork and Beth Gibbons. On 'Last Nail' Alias finds his voice again, delivering his rapid rhyme-free cadence over a beat that scurries to keep up with him, and on 'Anon,' Tarsier harmonizes over a dark and noirish score that 'life is only realized through love and wounds.'
Elsewhere, we're lifted upward by bright acoustic guitar (the strum of 'Dr. C,' by Anticon's Telephone Jim Jesus), kited across the midnight sky by the strings of a cello ('5 Year Eve' featuring Kirsten McCord of Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label), and brought down to the ground when faced with mortality's heavy coil ('Luck & Fear' with Subtle/13&God/Themselves' Doseone). "Plane that draws a white line" has Alias' acoustic guitar patiently plucking through New York and California thunderstorms while Tarsier folk-croons, "i'm happy not the fastest..." And, an illegal immigrant's feelings of entrapment are chronicled in "Picking the same lock" (lyrically inspired by the indie-doc film, "The Edge of America"), featuring subtle/themselves' Dax Pierson on keyboards.
All in all, the result is a powerful send- up on behalf of their own honest music manifesto -a project dreamt up and made human by a kindred pair 3000 miles apart.
* immediate free MP3 download for all vinyl orders of this release.