Label: Jagjaguwar Release date: out now Website: Everybody shhh, Justin Vernon is doing something again. Actually his side project with Collections of Colonies of Bees (C.O.C.O.B), Volcano Choir, has been embryonic for around three years now, but they realised this year they had a fair few songs and some time to spare. After a stop off in Vernon's studio, the result was an ethereal, experimental collection of noises. While Vernon 'sings' on the record the actual words are few and far between. Anyone, which should be everyone, who has last years Blood Bank EP might well have seen this coming. The final two track were sparse, loop heavy meanderings. Volcano Choir's Unmap is exactly the same concept and more C.O.C.O.B than Bon Iver. 'Sleepymouth' appears to transcend three or four different songs in its six minutes or so, loop after loop, layer after layer appear as it circles around themes that each take turns at the front. The falsetto Vernon gospel lines fade in and away with slurring, disjointed harmonies all the while keeping you on tenterhooks. The main single, or only possible single lies in 'Island, IS.' The concept is the same, guitars are intricately looped only this time Vernon properly unleashes his wordings and the harmonies are cleaner cut. The snare drum offers it some direction as it flutters to an end through intentionally off-cut loop clips. If there's one reason to buy Unmap, this is it. Woods from Blood Bank gets a reworking as 'Still' and will stop you well and truly in your tracks. The loops build as the harmonies thicken becoming a shiver-inducing soundscape, make that two reasons. 'And Gather' swells with hand-claps, choral harmonies and looped guitars sleepily but things at times entertain difficult and uncomfortable ideas. The minimalist 'Mbira In The Morass' isn't easy to finish as a bluesily howling Vernon is joined by irregular organ notes and a slow music box requiring all your will to stick it out. The same goes with album closer 'Youlogy' and it's harsh harmony. At times Unmap is captivating to the point where you are so immersed in it everything around you stops, but then it can spring to the other end of the spectrum and it passes straight on through. It feels like an album for the creators, an album that was much more rewarding to make than to hear. There's enough there though to justify this meeting of some pretty interesting minds. Rating: 7/10 What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!