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Peals is comprised of William Cashion and Bruce Willen, two bassists from some of the Baltimore's most revered bands (Future Islands and Double Dagger respectively). Formed in 2012, the duo turned inward for the debut LP, stowing away their basses for a playground of musical toys and sampling tools. A variety of guitars, keyboards, tambourines and toy pianos lead to the flourishing of a number of stripped-down and warmer compositions.

Most of what Peals do is rooted in session performance and live improvisation. Seltzer is no different, aside from that it also showcases 30 minutes of a live performance in the clock room of Bromo's Seltzer Tower. Whilst working with multimedia artist Zoe Friedman, Peals also used the conditions of the tower as sounds within their piece. "We realized that the random whirring of the equipment and loud sparking noises were going to be inescapable elements in the room during the performance...so we decided to incorporate them." They set up contact mics to the elevator controller to capture all the clicks and pops of the machinery, giving the performance a more unmediated and natural feel. The 60 minute LP is divided into two sections - Side A and B respectively - each running for 30 minutes. Side A is the live performance, whilst Side B presents itself as a collage of some of the duo's improvised home recordings. Strung together as a seamless mixtape-esque composition, it drifts through their earliest rehearsals and onward to their most recent sessions.

'Time is a Milk Bowl' is formulated out of minimalist percussive loops, accompanied softly by a glockenspiel and guitar that dance around each other, bringing to mind an early morning carnival setup. Willen and Cashion stated that the "performance included compositions created specifically to accompany Zoe's projections, as well as adaptations of pieces from our Walking Field album." Without witnessing the visuals, the sound lends itself to imagery. The bass rolls in, giving space for subdued humming guitars to form. Echoing solo notes breath life into a fresh musical landscape. All the sounds within the composition still appear to be on loop - even if in real time - until one track takes over the next, like in a race to the finish line, and turns the mood around. An impressive array of light and dark shades do well to complement each other and fill the room with visions of a multi-dimensional imaginative landscape.

Without knowing the background of the two lead performers, it wouldn't be hard to guess that bass playing was their musical gateway drug. It kicks in strongly throughout the first piece, raising the tide abruptly. It turns the ambient and intimate into a louder cry that directs itself outward. A twinkling glockenspiel and a punchy bass tag in at around 25 minutes, signalling the final thoughts of an idea and raising the mood. There is some elation forming - right before it is removed altogether, and the clock tower fills with applause.

Side B, aptly titled 'Before and After', is more of an experimental playground for Peals. No sound is off limits, just as no plans appear to be made for where each composition will go. Freeform guitars are very much the centerpiece, with drum loops of various formats and inspiration providing intermittent accompaniment. Each composition appears in short vignettes, with an ambient and uplifting mood attached to an overriding feeling of hope. 'Before and After' showcases the various sides of an already multi-dimensional piece, starting with the primitive and almost animalistic battering of instruments, and ending with noise, experimentation and confidence.

There is truly an element of escapism that occurs when listening to Seltzer. Regardless of whether or not Peals are making short or long compositions, it is clear that they intend for them to be drawn-out, ethereal pieces that take the listener on a journey. There is an admirable quality in musicians that do not play into the hands of conventional formatting. Steering away from 3-4 minute bite sized tracks to present each and every desirable sound in its untouched form is as much an honest experience for the creator as it is for the listener. Seltzer is unpolished and frayed around the edges and expresses its emotion accordingly - honest, imperfect and raw.

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