If Thousands - "I Have Nothing"
(Silber Records 2005, silber043)
From Aural Innovations #32 (November 2005)
If Thousands are the duo of Duluth, Minnesota based Christian McShane and Aaron Molina, and joined on this album by members of GST & 2i, as well as Paul Metzger from TVBC. I Have Nothing is the band's second album for the Silber label (see AI #23), though their web site indicates there have been two other albums released since then.
If Thousands uses stringed instruments, electronics, horns, and even what sounds like accordion to create a series of 15 soundscape pieces, plus the occasional ethnic influence. You wouldn't believe the volume of ambient/soundscape submissions I receive, most of which are enjoyable though completely lacking in individuality. So it's refreshing when I hear artists using traditional instrumentation to create atmosphere and mood centered music. Furthermore, If Thousands set themselves apart from the rest by making brief statements in the 2-5 minute range in a genre where lengthy excursions are the norm. While this type of music typically requires room to stretch out and develop its themes, If Thousands succeed by being concise. Whether it's an awareness of limitations or otherwise I can't say, but for this listener the result is a collection of soundscape styled "songs"… a collection of ambient aural short stories to enjoy in a weekend read. This is music you can put on the headphones and just get lost in. It's sparse… yet says so much.
For more information you can visit the If Thousands web site at: http://www.ifthousands.com.
Visit the Silber Records web site at: http://www.silbermedia.com.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz