LP Edition of 300. DL Included. Artwork by Amy Moon Offerman-Sims. Pace and Gait
Brilliant new album from Village of Spaces, a combo once described as, “Dan and his raggle taggle band of hippies” by Michael Hurley, a guy who knows about such things. The Dan in question is Dan Beckman-Moon who, along with his partner Amy Moon Offerman-Sims, is the central core of this constantly evolving, psychedelically inclined, folk juggernaut.
V.O.S. has had many name variations and members in the 17 years since Dan and Amy formed this more perfect union, but all of their recordings are possessed of a singular sense of rurality and otherness. They’ve been based everywhere from Santa Cruz to New Orleans to Belfast (Maine), and this album was recorded in expectedly nomadic fashion. Using various players and rooms from their network of collusionists, Shaped by Place offers a smoother ride than some of its predecessors.
The two covers they do of songs by Gordon Bok (the legendary Maine folksinger/woodworker who was Dan’s mentor when he was coming up) have a very sweet traditional swing. On “Shoreline Birds,” the way Dan’s voice interacts with the pedal steel puts me in mind of Mike Nesmith’s classic collabs with Red Rhodes (like ”The Great Ennui” off Nevada Fighter). Other parts move like some unreleased Raccoon label album, with the same mix of straight and weird that whole crew managed to conjure up so effortlessly.
Players on Shaped include members of Big Blood, Amps for Christ, Dire Wolves, and all manner of stylistic drifters. Sorta like what Hurley said, but better. A true feast of the mind, ears and soul. Dig in now or be forever hungry for something you can’t quite put your finger on. Mystery is rarely served up so neat.
-Byron Coley, 2019