Joshua Treble Five Points Fincastle

[Intr_Version; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: abstract electronic, experimental electronic
Others: Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke, Pita

I was sitting at work a few days ago when this 40-something soccer-mom came in. I helped her, and right before she left, she asked "What's this that you're listening to?" I'm never one to turn down the chance to turn someone on to new music, so I gladly replied, "It's a guy named Joshua Treble." She stood there for a split-second, as if listening intently, and said, "It sounds really cool," before she went on her way.

A few hours later, another customer came in, this time an older gent resembling a cowboy that I'm pretty sure I saw pull up in a beat-up pick-up truck. His reaction to the music was almost identical to the woman's. Now I was getting confused. Here are two people that before that day had probably had very little exposure to any form of experimental music, asking me about the sounds coming from the jambox. You might think it's elitist of me to look at these people and automatically assume what kind of music they listen to, but if a soccer mom and a cowboy came up to you, would you immediately ask them how much they love Jim O'Rourke? I didn't think so.

So what was it about Joshua Treble (aka Tony Boggs) that made these people like it enough to ask me about it (mind you, I don't work at a record store, so asking what music I'm playing isn't very commonplace)? After listening to Five Points Fincastle numerous times, I still don't know, nor am I going to try and figure it out. This is definitely an album that speak for itself when asked why it's good.

Joshua Treble weaves near-perfect soundscapes that envelop the listener in a blurry mist of guitars, field recordings, and electronics. Combining those elements may be familiar to most everyone by now, but I'll be damned if Joshua Treble doesn't do it as well, or even better, than most of his better-known contemporaries. But Treble takes a bit of a different approach to his craft than most similar artists operating today. Five Points Fincastle has much more of a heart than most electronic music out there; the whole album has a very intense sense of melancholy and desperation. I wouldn't be surprised if this music was created shortly after the death of a loved one. Either that, or Treble is just really good at conveying emotion through a usually emotionless form of music.

On the surface, Five Points Fincastle may sound a bit weary. This is definitely an album where headphones help the listener appreciate it more. Listening to it on your speakers might bore you a bit, but strap on your ear goggles and the album takes on a whole new dimension. You're hearing things you didn't even notice before. Instead of being tired, the album's more lengthy tracks suddenly spring to life where there didn't appear to be any before. This is an album that can keep you interested even after repeated listens, and that's something that's been missing from music for a while, electronic or not.

1. Airlift
2. The Distance Between Us in KM
3. A Serious House on Serious Earth
4. I Was There for the Last Kiss But Never Saw the Ambulances Leave
5. Stranded
6. Department 348
7. The Hour Is Like the Room

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