As with outlaw country singers from decades past, the road beckons to Marielle Jakobsons. She’d rather hightail out of town than lay roots down. Freedom, I suppose. Over the course of a measly 3 years, the ambient itinerant has touched on open-ended folk symphonies (myrmyr w/Agnes Szelag), psych-rock in slow motion (Date Psalms w/Gregg Kowalsky), and splendiferous drone (Portraits w/Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Evan Caminiti, Jon Porras, and many others).
Though this restlessness has carved out an intriguing flight for the Oakland resident’s collaborations, the first full-length under her own name (her solo debut is credited to darwinsbitch) is at odds with itself by the very same token.
Opener ‘Purple Sands’ is a strong number to begin with, cavernous yet protracted, rustic and verdant — like spring’s thaw caught on tape. The ambience is certainly shadowy, but there are glimmers dangling in its eye, a determination to shake off the rust and hunker down in the warmth of what’s to come. ‘Crystal Orchard’ is also a winsome piece, its violin flutters imbuing the proceedings with minimalist flair. Running counter to this composure is ‘Dusty Trails’, which indulges in metallic whirs and an insistent pulse, haphazardly stepping into the domain of kosmiche and drifting off into the 70s-colored sunset. It’s not a poor effort by any stretch, but it does puzzle when surrounded by denser affairs.
Meanwhile, ‘Cobalt Waters’ leads off with 2 minutes of robotic drab that verge on spoiling the lush landscape that follows. ‘Shale Hollows’ isn’t guilty of such a blunder, allowing its tones to breathe for the duration and deploying sheets of static only to reinforce the textures in place as opposed to softening their blows.
Jakobsons’ ideas shine brightest when she focuses on one at a time. When she sticks around long enough to see them through. Alas, she appears much more comfortable with her state of flux than the notion of staying put.