Blankets

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Schacht
Blankets was a left turn for Tracker, and not just because the soundtrack to Craig Thompson's acclaimed illustrated novel of the same name was their first virtually all-instrumental disc. The Portland band's two prior releases included plenty of evocative soundscapes and vocal-free passages, so what really sets Blankets apart is the different emotional tone of the record. Both Ames and Polk featured panoramic vignettes built on dusty narratives and pedal steel accents -- psychotropic road trips through desert badlands with Hunter S. Thompson driving, and Calexico and Deserter's Song-era Mercury Rev on the radio. On both records, a sense of wonder crept into even the most ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Schacht
Blankets was a left turn for Tracker, and not just because the soundtrack to Craig Thompson's acclaimed illustrated novel of the same name was their first virtually all-instrumental disc. The Portland band's two prior releases included plenty of evocative soundscapes and vocal-free passages, so what really sets Blankets apart is the different emotional tone of the record. Both Ames and Polk featured panoramic vignettes built on dusty narratives and pedal steel accents -- psychotropic road trips through desert badlands with Hunter S. Thompson driving, and Calexico and Deserter's Song-era Mercury Rev on the radio. On both records, a sense of wonder crept into even the most melancholy nooks and crannies. But on Blankets, the music works from the inside-out: Tracker's synth washes, clarion guitar tones, brushed cymbals and keyboard textures capture the isolation and longing of Thompson's wintry coming-of-age tale. Still, the songs have a cocoon-ish warmness that belies titles like "Snow" or "Vanishing Cave," and there are obvious nods to the Fripp & Eno collaborations, as well as songs that pulse with Tortoise-like momentum and vibraphone chimes. There are more dramatic variations, too, such as the horns-spiced "F! Is for Filth!," which captures the main character's clash with his strictly religious parents, and the barely controlled feedback read: angst lurking beneath "The House of Jarius." "Marathon" even conjures a jazz vibe during its brief duration. To Tracker's credit, all these sonic moods flow together quite naturally. The only misstep on the record is disc-ender "Everything Is Beautiful" -- the song is fine on its own, but after 30-plus minutes of instrumental mood pieces, the vocals and more traditional song structure are too jarring. Thompson commissioned Tracker's soundtrack to accompany Blankets, but it's not a prerequisite to enjoying the record. With assistance from fellow Portland musicians like Norfolk & Western's Adam Selzer and the Decemberists' Chris Funk, John Askew's trio creates an atmospheric tapestry that should please fans of instrumental outfits ranging from Friends of Dean Martinez to the Six Parts Seven. It may not match the rambling grandeur of Polk, but Blankets adds another dimension to Tracker's impressive songbook.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/5/2004
  • Label: Film Guerrero
  • UPC: 751937241522
  • Catalog Number: 19

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Tracker Primary Artist
Bruce Winter Bass, Wurlitzer
Tucker Martine Voices
Willy Vlautin Background Vocals
Erik Herzog Drums, Xylophone
Adam Selzer Slide Guitar, Casio
Todd Corbett Bass, keyboard bass
Chris Funk Pedal Steel Guitar
Cory Gray Trombone, Trumpet
Derek Trost Accordion, Drums, Glockenspiel
John Askew Organ, Synthesizer, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Korg, Pump Organ, fender rhodes, Vox Organ, Trash Cans
Technical Credits
Roger Seibel Mastering
Bruce Winter Engineer
Andrew Giacumakis Engineer
Tad Wagner Guitar Techician
Adam Selzer Engineer
Todd Corbett Producer
Jason Powers Engineer
John Askew Producer, Engineer, Loop
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