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Unmap

Rate It! Avg: 3.5 (602 ratings)
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Unmap album cover
01
Husks And Shells
3:44
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Seeplymouth
6:44
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Island, IS
4:09
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Dote
2:50
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And Gather
2:18
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Mbira In The Morass
3:51
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Cool Knowledge
1:08
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Still
6:56
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Youlogy
3:37
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Album Information

Total Tracks: 9   Total Length: 35:17

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Wondering Sound

Review 0

Amanda Petrusich

Contributor

Amanda Petrusich is the author of the forthcoming DO NOT SELL AT ANY PRICE (Scribner), a book about collectors of rare 78 rpm records (if you’ve got a basement...more »

09.21.09
Volcano Choir, Unmap
Label: Jagjaguwar / SC Distribution

Steadfast devotees of Bon Iver's soft, languorous folk songs will be tempted to preemptively decry Volcano Choir, a longstanding collaboration between Justin Vernon and fellow Wisconsinites Collections of Colonies of Bees, as an oddball lark: warped and warbly, the group's debut LP, Unmap, is unfamiliar ground, a collection of rich, glistening sound assemblages with loads of moving parts and nary a broken heart.

For an artist so frequently mythologized as "organic" (He recorded in… read more »

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Brilliant experimental rock and folk pairing

Sobriquet

If you're looking for Bon Iver for his folk side, this is probably not the album for you. Personally, I really like this album, but it's more on the avant-garde side of things, as opposed to songs that would fit well in an iPod shuffle top 25. Put this album on if you want some challenging, but highly rewarding, music for an afternoon.

user avatar

It's Not for Everybody That's For Sure, But

McPelvic

I'm not familiar with the work of the band Bon Iver, but for some reason, I downloaded this puppy. At first, I thought, eh, not for me. But then I listened again and these tracks really grew on me.

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Does this cover look familar?

senatorbobdole

Has anyone heard of "Midlake"? Have you heard of them, Justin Vernon?

user avatar

Dissapointing Effort

Kevin2TheMystic

I have to say that I really have become a fan of Bon Iver over the last year, so when I saw this record I was excited that Justin was collaborating with other musicians. I also was really taken by the album cover and the name of the band even. However, this album sounds like an experimental demo that never really goes anywhere. It lacks consistency and cohesiveness and I am left wondering why the artists would have even released it. First go out and get For Emma, Forever ago and then Blood Bank (by Bon Iver) and if you really must have everything in your catalogue then download this and you might a find a few tidbits of interest, but I recommend skipping this one.

user avatar

Somewhere Emma is screaming

wrenhunter

I loved "For Emma". Take the worst parts of it (high keening yawp & tons of reverb), subtract the well-written songs, and you get this record. A bunch of not-at-all successful experimentation. Back to the cabin, chief.

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4 stars

ggberry

Lou Barlow is too earnest to make this kinda record . This is a really good listen it drifts along a treat ..

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3 stars barely

JoelPatrick

About 3 of the songs are totally worth the download. Getting through the album is difficult, even on a 3rd and 4th listen, it is hardly bearable.

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dreamy drudgery

wangdang

hmm. I really dig bands like atlas sound, cocteau twins, and mazzy star... and i kind of feel like this is along the same vein.. but I guess I get into the idea of enjoying peoples lyrics and vocals without having to consult the cd booklet for guidance..and when i hear this album it has me going 'huh? what he said? what? where? hizza? hooza?'..the whole MC Mumblemouth thing is too much work to understand. I donno. I'll prolly love the heck out of this in 5 years when everyone else is like 'duh! that old thing?' but it just doesn't strike me right, right now. It might be a good soundtrack if youre feeling a little too happy and need something to bum you out.. (i wanted to end this on a positive note) ;)

user avatar

overrated

benjiru

I like Bon Iver's debut quite a bit - I mean It's one of the better singer-songwriter albums of (really) the last decade. But this just isn't very good. It's like Justin Vernon took his previous ideas and tried to make them work in this context, instead of using some new inspiration. The thing is, the previous instrumentation worked great as it was. This just feels like a rip-off. A surprisingly boring-yet-self-indulgent rip-off. Skip this one.

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Take it for a long walk.

Winston23

Minimalism and Math Rock with some acoustic 'field' recordings.A nice surprise!

They Say All Music Guide

Anyone thinking that Volcano Choir are going to be anything like Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago just because Justin Vernon is involved is in for a bit of a shock. Yes, Vernon’s otherworldly vocals grace most of the songs on Unmap, but there are no real songs to speak of, no hushed backwoods folk grandeur or heartbreakingly soulful sounds. Instead, Vernon and his friends from the post-rock band Collections of Colonies of Bees have crafted a defiantly experimental album that relies on Vernon’s vocals as just another color in the paint box, not the main focus. The tracks are largely free-floating post-rock jams that drift and flow without great purpose but often sound intensely emotional, as on the driving climax of “Seelpymouth” or the segment of “And Gather” when Vernon’s massed vocal overdubs join together in a hurricane of sound. Elsewhere, the group conjures up the dreamy, almost dancy post-shoegaze sound of A.R. Kane (on the album’s best — and most songlike — song, “Island, Is”), dives headfirst into the kind of atonal modern composition Scott Walker favored in the 2000s on “Mbira in the Morass,” and drifts into almost new agey soundscapes on the album-closing “Youlogy.” A few tracks aren’t miles away from Vernon’s work with Bon Iver, especially the opening “Husks and Shells” and “Still,” which is basically a rewrite of “Woods” from the Blood Bank EP, using the same vocodered vocals but inserting them into an almost rocking backwoods jam. Unmap won’t scare off hardier Bon Iver fans who might find its experiments intriguing enough to get past the lack of songs. It will also please those who were worried that Vernon might be content to just repeat the BI formula until it became clichéd. Despite the occasional flaws, the album shows that Vernon (along with the guys in Collections of Colonies of Bees) has not only the desire to branch out but also the necessary skills. – Tim Sendra

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