So, this is technically a split, I guess. But if you look at the included personnel rundown of these Maine-based acts “Ancestral Diet is Andy Neubauer and Caethua. Caethua is Clare Adrienne Hubbard and often times Andy Neubauer” it seems more like the same band on each side with an alternate name, and soundwise it does too. This is no complaint though; these two sides complement each other rather nicely.
If asked to pick between the two I’d go with Caethua side “Surface Waters and Underground Seas”. It moves smoothly through a number of stages beginning with pulsing keyboard melodies and what sounds like a recording of birdcalls. A mellow organ lightly pushes things into the next stage, contrasting the melodious, calm keyboards with brief, manipulated sax screech. The sax, one of the elements that mark this side as my favorite, returns periodically with soaring screeds. An electric piano introduces a new melody (along with a bassoon-like instrument) shifting the piece in a new direction. The addition of singing by Hubbard effortlessly transforms the piece into an airy pop song. There’s nice work from a, I think, bowed instrument providing subtle accents. The pop song evaporates into a light cacophony of field recordings and a foghorn type sound that turns into a looped beat. All over the place but a really impressively composed and orchestrated side. It’s always refreshing to hear something constructed with this much precision coming out of the underground.
Ancestral Diet’s side is titled “Coming Back in Trace Amounts” and it maintains a darker outlook than the Caethua side. With sustained tones coming from keyboards and/or sax perhaps, the piece broods along until a song, voiced by both Neubauer and Hubbard, emerges garnished in guitar and bells. They move through a few melodies with this arrangement, guitar doubling the melody of the voices with chimes tinkling all around. Stuttering, wobbly electronic tones take over making for an unexpected conclusion. The track isn’t crafted quite as tightly as the previous side but there’s still some great material on here.
This tape is packaged phenomenally well as Goaty always does. Two inserts, full color weirdly cut j-card, pro-dubbed/printed tape. It’s a nice slice of strange Maine and the rumor is an Ancestral Diet/Goaty LP is in the works so I’m staying tuned for that.