by Maggie McPhee
Avey Tare – Cows on Hourglass Pond
David Portner’s third studio album as Avey Tare is so textured and diverse it feels like a sonic interpretation of a topographic map. Delving back to the Mayan era and forward into a robot-filled future, this map somehow spans all of space and time. Cows on Hourglass Pond does so with humility—not claiming to understand the universe but boldly venturing into it nonetheless.
The opening track greets the listener, “Welcome to the Goodside,” then unravels into echoes asking: “what is? is? is? is? I can’t even find it on the map.” The ensuing songs see Portner grapple, both with this unanswerable question and across landscapes that can never lead him to an answer. Cows on Hourglass Pond honours the act of curiosity.
Portner builds his layered, elliptical sounds into worlds sprinkled with rays of luminous guitar and populated with transient samples. In constant kaleidoscopic metamorphosis, sounds once earthy turn celestial. On “Our Little Chapter,” sparkly synths pulse and recede like waves as Portner reminisces on the undoing of a relationship.
Cows on Hourglass Pond calls on the vastness of the universes to wonder about personal things, inviting listeners to try it out too.