Cale Parks – Illuminated Manuscript (CD)

The opening to “Illuminated Manuscript” are as twinkling as the stars on a clear night. While there are hints of acts like Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service present in eir “Pretty Boring”, Cale Parks is able to recast eir music into something completely different than what has been done in the past. The fact that there can be such a full sound with little more than a synthesizer, a guitar, and a set of vocals is still stocking to me, yet this is what is dominant during “Illuminated Manuscript”. A song like “Tiny Theme” sounds unnaturally artificial, with the drums having a specific sampling that highlights the Schroeder (think ”Peanuts”) like piano line during this track. There is not much in the way of vocals to a song like “Tiny Theme”, but Cale Parks is intelligent enough to add a dialogue into each and every track on “Illuminated Manuscript”.

The somewhat tribal sound to the percussion during “Halls of Avalon” blends with the rest of the instrumentation on the track in much the same way as Moby tended to do with discs past. Cale Parks is one of the few individuals that is able to make a largely instrumental disc interesting and completely different from track to track. The problem that a number of artists have with their instrumental albums is that there just is not enough in the way of differentiation between the songs they lump together. What should be eight or nine tracks oftentimes morphs into a forty or fifty minute mess that individuals are tired of by the tenth or so minute. Cale Parks is at the juncture of a number of different musical styles, which range the gamut of sounds from electronic to traditional Americana to emo and indie music and all places in between. While individuals may not be used to an entirely (mostly) instrumental album, I have little doubt that the sweet sounds of “Illuminated Manuscript” will be enough to keep individuals listening in and interested.

For eir next album, I would like to see what the inclusion of vocals would do to the perfect balance that “Illuminated Manuscript” creates. Pick up the album if you would like something to sail away to, something to pull up a pillow and zone out for a good fifty minutes before Cale packs it in with the final track on the disc, “Beat Masheen”.

Top Tracks: Beat Masheen, Tiny Theme

Rating: 6.2/10

[JMcQ]

Cale Parks – Illuminated Manuscript / 2006 Polyvinyl / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/caleparksmusic / http://www.polyvinylrecords.com / Reviewed 25 September 2006

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