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Unmap CD

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

Price: £11.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Sept. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • ASIN: B002HMCEF8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,914 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

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BBC Review

Bon Iver’s beautiful, lovelorn For Emma, Forever Ago was a critics’ favourite of 2008, topping many year-end lists and bewitching the lucky few who heard it with its heartbreaking songs. It was the delicate raking-over of a relationship’s embers, the cathartic mumblings of a bereft man holed away in his Wisconsin wood cabin with a guitar and set of microphones, recovering from illness and the break-up of his band.

On its near-follow-up, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver in plainclothes) has reconvened with the Volcano Choir he and members of post-rockers Collections of Colonies of Bees formed in 2005. It’s an entirely natural combination, but a very different beast from Bon Iver. Where For Emma, Forever Ago cradled the listener, Unmap is plainly more challenging.

For starters, it’s light on words, favouring a hushed minimalism which isn’t so far from Vernon’s previous set but lacks that album’s immediacy. It’s not so easy to find a way in. Persevere, however, and rewards are plentiful, from the wind-scattered prettiness and choral interjections of Husks and Shells to And Gather’s campfire chimes, handclaps and cosy organ fills.

This is a quiet, withdrawn record, edging slowly into life with repeated, grooving sequences on Island, IS (available as a free download from the Jagjaguwar site) and the cats’ chorus of Cool Knowledge. Meanwhile, Dote’s ambient drone recalls Boards of Canada’s unsettling atmospherics and the treated vocal parps of Seeplymouth owe a debt to Laurie Anderson. These are not mainstream influences, but the parts add up to an oddly accessible whole.

It’s evident in the dreamy vocoder of the gorgeous Still, which feels like a comfort blanket after Mbira in the Morass’s creepy ghost-blues, and Youlogy’s gospel coda which happily tempers the mournful Thom Yorke-like whine that otherwise dominates the song. Difficult music offset by soulful touches.

While there’s still a whiff of the wintry woods about Unmap, it shows a more experimental side of Vernon than we’re familiar with, his occasional colleagues clearly giving him the space to express his less-charted oblique leanings. A welcome companion piece to For Emma, Forever Ago, this side-project is also a work to cherish in its own right. --Matthew Horton

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Interesting album, a bit of a late night burner, that with more playing and a glass of Vino gets a lot better (the more wine you drink the better the album sounds) the playing is warm and gentle, but with enough suden changes to keep you focused, if your a fan of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes then dont think this is anything like there last long players, as this is a completely different baby, and we all need change....and this is a good one!
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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 May 2010
Format: Audio CD
There is somebody on the front cover image of Volcano Choir's
debut 'Unmap' standing in the snow wrapped up in a blanket.
Rather like German artist Joseph Beuys' performance piece
"I Like America and America Likes Me" (1974) in which he spent
three days in the Rene Block Gallery in NYC locked up in a cage
with a live coyote with only a roll of felt and a wooden staff
for comfort and protection, the VC image is a shamanistic bridge
of sorts to the wonderful music which follows.

This is music which does, indeed, wrap around like a sonic blanket,
bringing warmth to our bones in these increasingly troubled times.

There is a subtle magic in these nine compositions which, in a
blissfully unhurried way, worms its way into our consciousness
and before we know it we find ourselves as much inside the music as
we are outside listening to it (try this for yourself at home!)

Jump straight to 'Dote' for an immediate taste of enchantment. The
disembodied, breathy vocals and pulsing synths roll like mist through
a mountain valley, gently enveloping everything in its benign path.
Part reverie, part meditation, wholly beautiful.

'Mbira In The Morass' is a far more angular and abstract invention.
Both melody and rhythm are elusively defined (not unlike some of
Tom Waits' more wayward creations) but its disparate elements still
retain a curious coherence despite the ambiguous narrative.

The daft little miniature 'Cool Knowledge' (coming in at just over
a minute long), with its slippery harmonies, hillarious "Ho Hum"
bass line (very approx!) and slap-happy four-square drum beat,
demonstrates that the band has a finely-honed sense of humour too.
Read more ›
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Beautiful. If you like Bon Iver you'll love this, slightly darker and perhaps slightly more inaccessible but incredible all the same. This is an album I turn to again and again when I'm in varying moods and it always sees me right. Saw VC live some time ago and that definitely brought this album alive for me, their passion for music is evident in this album along with their live performances and that combined with Justin Vernon's trademark vocal arrangements make for a brilliant album.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Massive 'Bon Iver' fan and for those who understand the association will understand the disappoint with VC. soooooo let down :(
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably Soothing 31 Mar. 2012
By M. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This was an impulse purchase on my part, but I am quite glad I did it. Each track has incredible range. Yet, the continuity of the album is never broken. It is very soothing and I often use it to help clear my mind before bed.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! 18 Feb. 2015
By The Wolves Act I & II - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of Justin Vernon. Of course, I can never understand what he is saying. I listened to this CD about ten times before noticing there are no lyrics to any of these songs. None! lol. Still I ranked it 5 stars because Volcano Choir much like Bon Iver is able to create a great ambience that other instrumental and experimental artists are not able to create. I personally love listening to Volcano Choir & Bon Iver when I'm outdoors fishing, hiking, etc. There is a lot of depth to the collaboration of sounds.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift for my fiance. He was so stoked ... 1 April 2015
By Lauren Matushin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
A gift for my fiance. He was so stoked. Put it right up on his shelf next to his others.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh 13 April 2014
By Justin Tuttle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Being a big Vernon fan, this album was very upsetting. I cannot find myself actually sitting through 90% of this album. It hurts to say it, but it has to be said. I was deceived by false reviews. I was a victim.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just ok 24 July 2013
By Des - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
We love Justin Vernon in Bon Ivar but Volcano Choir is a little too far out there for my taste.
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