Stampede to Timberline
Tribulation


4.5
superb

Review

by Michael Snoxall USER (3 Reviews)
December 15th, 2012 | 85 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Let's all forget our troubles with a big bowl of strawberry ice cream."

Have you ever come across an album at a specific time in your life when, if you had discovered it at any other time, it would never have impacted you the same way? That album, for me, for the time being, is Stampede to Timberline’s Tribulation. At a time when I’m unsure of everything in my life, down to the most trivial problems, Tribulation has come into the picture, sat me in a chair and shut me up; teaching me to appreciate the stunning majesty of, and to soak in, the world around me. From the scent of the petrichor from the earth, to the fog in the sky and the snails that come at night. Stampede to Timberline is a one-man experimental folk project, blending field recordings and ambient, drone and even noise tendencies to create a unique and almost avant-garde folk experience.

I’m certain this album draws from a plethora of many different influences and inspirations to become what it is, but yet it’s so difficult to peg this for what it is. When it drones, it has that beautiful repetition of strings and the ringing reverb of hissing tonalities. When it’s ambient, it has the swirling and ethereal voices of the music intertwining and gently humming. When it’s folk, it features sanguine yet downtrodden acoustic melodies alongside the harmonic vocals, which at times seem reminiscent of a young Jeff Buckley, albeit without the inhuman range. And what really strikes me with this release, which really sinks deep into my mind is just how diverse this is, and how many different comparisons I can make. Whether it be the layered acoustic plucking in ‘I’m Gone’ reminding me of Boris’ Flood, or the spoken word in the same song sending me back to Kayo Dot’s Choirs of the Eye, Tribulation is a strange beast which leaves me in awe after each listen. No other album in recent years has sent me to so many different places in less than an hour’s runtime. The prick of nostalgia that sends me into spirals of longing for younger years, the sense of reliving moments of love, of people, of music, of life, of emptiness.

The album peaks at its centre, around three tracks in particular: ‘Hands and Anchors,’ ‘Light in My Lungs’ and ‘Life and Sleep.’ Starting off the centrepiece trio, ‘Hands and Anchors’ sees the first formal folk song of the record and is the first song to really show off the gorgeous vocal work of the album. Soft croons and light-hearted lungs spilling into the microphone to create a song which is nothing short of breathtaking with its soothing melodies and structure. ‘Light in My Lungs’ is sort of a segue, or a breakdown, if you will. The song demonstrates soft ambiance, droning note repetition and static that one simply gets lost in. As it all fades, in comes ‘Life and Sleep,’ which I like to see as ‘Hands and Anchors’ counterpart on the album. Featuring a much more melodically straightforward acoustic performance with basic strummed chords, but also features that album’s best vocal work, immediately recognised at the beginning of the song (pity/purity/we all feel it/it ebbs and flows through our lungs).

One minor nitpick I’ve to discuss in Tribulation is the sampling in ‘Our Western Oceans.’ Whilst musically the song is one of the highlights of the album, with absolutely spine-tingling note progressions and ambient waves of noise mixed with field recordings of effective sounds, the sampling of an interview/conversation that runs throughout the song’s eight-and-a-half minute playtime brings an unneeded political message into the album. Talking of matters of abortion and pro-life Christians that I feel detracts from the simple and uplifting ideas of life and nostalgia that I’d been experiencing before now. All-in-all, it’s not a large problem and certainly doesn’t ruin the album in any way, shape or form, but simply just feels out of place. As the album closes with the sixteen minutes of pure bliss that is ‘David Branches,’ a song that exemplifies everything that makes this album so incredible, I feel myself a little worn thin, a little happier than before, a little exhausted-- a little smile on my face.

Tribulation is the soundtrack to a rainy Summer, lying uneasy in the beauty of an imperfect world. The soundtrack to the children who run out to explore new worlds in a hazy morning, little legs stretching over rocks, under logs and through the trees, visiting the places in their minds that we, as we’ve gotten older, have stopped visiting.
It may just be the warmth in the air, or the rain running down my windows, but the body in this work is thicker than the humidity that surrounds me. This is no doubt an album that will not be leaving regular rotation for a long time and I couldn’t hope to find a better companion for my empty days of pitiless slumber.


user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Atari
Contributing Reviewer
December 15th 2012


20715 Comments


Great review I love just about anything with folk influences I'll have to check this one out. Pos

Digging: Tigers on Trains - Grandfather

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2012


10480 Comments


And this is proof why you need to write more for Sputnik. Great, great review.

There are a few slight trouble spots here, but none of them are huge.

" around three tracks in particular: ‘Hands and Anchors,’ ‘Light in My Lungs’ and ‘Life and Sleep.’"

You could probably exclude this, seeing as they're literally the centerpiece of the album (in terms of being the center tracks.)

"Soft croons and light-hearted lungs spilling into the microphone to create a song which is nothing short of breathtaking with its soothing melodies and structure."

This is just awkwardly worded to me. With slight adjustments, it'd flow better.

"I feel myself a little worn thin, a little happier than before, a little exhausted-- a little smile on my face."

You feel yourself a little smile on your face? Hehe, parallelism hiccups are so much fun.

You do a fantastic job of blending your creative writing skills with reviewing. Have a pos, man.



chambered49
December 15th 2012


1727 Comments


i just wish you would stop 4.5ing fucking everything

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2012


10480 Comments


Yeah man, dislike more music for us please!

chambered49
December 15th 2012


1727 Comments


cmon thats not what i mean if everything is superb then nothing is superb

chambered49
December 15th 2012


1727 Comments


this guy compromises the integrity of every fucking artist he writes about it's quite frankly disgusting and i think he should be banned

MiniatureHorse
December 15th 2012


908 Comments


I really want this, man.

chambered49
December 15th 2012


1727 Comments


u r prob one of the most self absorbed ppl on this site good sir

Tyrael
December 15th 2012


20989 Comments


Will not neg because it seems you finally made an effort to improve your writing

good job

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2012


10480 Comments


He's already said he's going to rate things differently, so I don't see what the problem is. It's personal preference, and I'm not going to bitch about you being conservative with your ratings because that's silly as hell.

"this guy compromises the integrity of every fucking artist he writes about it's quite frankly disgusting and i think he should be banned"

Good one!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
December 15th 2012


20715 Comments


Yeah quit being a bitch chambered

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2012


10480 Comments


Sure thing. I like Chambered, but he's being a little silly right now

And this is a Sputnik user project? If so, you should provide that information in your first comment so people know.

mindleviticus
December 15th 2012


8521 Comments


my red and yellow socks like this review

YankeeDudel
December 15th 2012


9335 Comments


northouse made this?

Digging: Marriages - Salome

Wolfhorde
December 15th 2012


13815 Comments


We need Aids' trophy in here.

Keyblade
December 15th 2012


16406 Comments


gave this a listen earlier today and it was really great. awesome job north0house.

really similar to ilyas ahmed's album...but that album does everything better imo. from the drones to the vocals (which i'm not too keen on so far).

Digging: -

North0House2
December 15th 2012


5920 Comments


Wow, thanks a ton for the review man. Lol, it means a lot. Really great review, and awesome it got featured.

But yeah this is my first venture into music. I have lots I want to improve upon next time around.

Digging: Jon Foreman - Fall and Winter

North0House2
December 15th 2012


5920 Comments


Also, yeah, I figured there'd be some disagreements with the message on Our Western Oceans. I picked it for that reason though. I thought it was kind of funny how people who were pro-life were accusing their very own candidates of pulling the rug out from under them.

mindleviticus
December 15th 2012


8521 Comments


albums good north0house2 great work

bakkermaarten007
December 15th 2012


3963 Comments


This is quite nice Northhouse, props and you seem like a nice guy as well.
And good job Michael for luring me in, pos.



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