[Music] Departure Street – Two Islands in the Heart

Departure Street is American/French guitarist Allan J. Kimmel.  Reading his bio on the Bandcamp release page, he calls his work neo-folk.  I thought it a strange term, as I normally associate it with dark bands who worked with music that would set well with fans of bands like Death In June, Current 93 and the like.  Giving this a couple of listens, perhaps there is some connection there.  What I hear a bit more strongly is a sound that compares well with contemporary guitarists like Cousin Silas.  This has floaty, pleasant feel to it.  Worth a third or fourth listen, definitely.

From Allan’s Bandcamp page:

Departure Street, AKA Allan J. Kimmel, creates tranquil electric guitar meditations that sprawl and explore like the hungry tendrils of an aggressive ivy.

Kimmel, who hails from both America and France, has filled this record with nothing but vividly surreal instrumental soundscapes, which are comprised purely of his multi-tracked and effects-laden solo guitar. Across the record’s nine tracks, Kimmel takes his unique brand of psychedelic loner-folk, and stirs in elements of reverb-heavy ambient music, cosmic American primitivism and even some Middle Eastern folk traditions. The resulting brew is a heady yet mellow mix that glides along with a pleasant ease.

While the album feels like one large suite, “Ascension” is certainly a highlight. David Gilmour-esque slide guitar coasts through slow waves of spacey, repetitive riffs, all while Kimmel laces melancholic solos across the entirety of the piece. There’s a heavy atmosphere in “Ascension,” and it makes you think about people and places that you’re nostalgic for, or pleasant dreams that you’ve once had. It’s certainly a comforting recording, but there is some sort of loss hidden just below the surface.

Two Islands in the Heart is a complex record despite its minimalist approach, and it’s an unexpectedly emotionally charged one, as well. If you are a fan of Steve Palmer’s latest record, Cian Nugent or David Grubbs, then you need this album.

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