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Tracker Polk - Tracker Polk

  by John Clarkson

published: 6 / 1 / 2003

Tracker Polk - Tracker Polk
Label: Filmguerrero
Format: CD


Ambiently skewed second album from Tracker, the solo project of FILM Guerrero label owner John Askew, which, despite a difficult recording, proves to have "been well worth the long wait"

When John Askew decided in early 2000 to self-release 'Ames', the debut album of his project Tracker, he inadvertently started his own label, FILM Guerrero. In the time since then, FILM Guerrero has added to its roster the rising indie folk act Norfolk and Western and the French alt. rock musician Gabriel "Naim" Amor, and has moved from success to success. It is soon to release its fifteenth album, 'Spooked', the second studio record by the brooding Seattle group, Transmissionary Six. One of the inevitable consequences of all this for Askew, who is based in Portland, Oregon and who is also a recording engineer , has been that he has become so so busy with his label work that he has had to put Tracker largely on hold, and it is only now that three years later that he has been able to finish off 'Polk', a second album of material. 'Polk' was recorded largely late at night and at off-peak periods in the Type Foundry, the Portland studio, where Askew sometimes works. Askew played most of the instruments on it himself including the guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and cello himself, but for some of the thirteen tracks has brought in special guests including Norfolk and Western's frontman Adam Selzer ; Richmond Fontaine bassist Dave Harding : Death Cab for Cutie drummer Michael Schorr and Raymond Richards from Mojave 3. Named like its predecessor after a semi-mythical town in Iowa to which Askew has never been, 'Polk' has been well worth the long wait. 'Ames', which was reminiscent of Ry Cooder's "Paris, Texas' and Calexico's 'Hot Rail', came across as a slightly skewed form of desert rock. The equally atmospheric 'Polk' is similarly off-kilter. Like 'Ames', it is imbued with a similar sparse epicness and makes a clever use of sound effects including distorted vocals, warped guitars, scratchy hand held recordings and echoing keyboards. This second album, however, is more ambient in tone. The haunting 'The Swimmer' makes evocative use of a swirling pedal steel played by Richards, and finishes with a startling, shimmering piano solo that comes seemingly from nowhere. 'Chemistry' meanwhile starts off as a whimsical Donovan-style paean to hallucinatory drugs, but gradually evolves into something more menacing and sinister, while 'Somber Reptiles', a cover of the Brian Eno instrumental, convincingly bounces moody guitar histronics from Askew up against rattling drum work from Schorr. Despite all the difficulties he had recording this album, Askew's persistence and patience have paid off, and 'Polk' has a remarkable tenacity and focus. It is an excellent addition to both Askew and FILM Guerrero's already fine catalogue

Track Listing:-
1 Nova
2 Area
3 The Swimmer
4 Flint (Watch the Crafts!)
5 Distance Is the Sun
6 Great Sea (It Sank Me)
7 The Bodyhead
8 Chemistry
9 Lapser
10 Photograph the Ancestors
11 Somber Reptiles
12 French

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