Reviews

Devendra Banhart & Noah Georgeson
Refuge

(Dead Oceans)

8/10

Refuge is an album like nothing the magnetic singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart has made before. In this new ambient project with Banhart’s long-time, Grammy-winning producer and sometime co-writer Noah Georgeson, there’s none of the singular, esoteric folk sound, the fingerpicked guitar, or striking, screwy vocals that made Banhart’s name.

Fluidly and beautifully weaving together a trellis of woodwind and strings, with floaty, weightless synth drones, Refuge is an ambient gem that marries the two very different compositional angles of its composers. It’s a subtly entrancing collection of tracks, comprising harp, dreamy pedal steel, and piano, alongside field recordings of Nepali Buddhist ceremonies on ‘Asura Cave’, and a mantra recited by Banhart’s Bhutanese teacher, Neten Chokling Rinpoche. 

Deep Listening legends Pauline Oliveros and Lou Harrison are spiritual touchstones for this album, and like the incredible compositions of the mavericks it’s inspired by, Refuge possesses the kind of command that can envelop you, wherever you might be. There’s a conscious fascination here with rhythms and sounds that might induce the kind of internal psychological space needed in people to feel a sense of renewal. In the deepest chaos, Refuge is an ideal record to become submerged in.

New monthly memberships available

Here’s a new thing: our membership scheme now has a pay-monthly option, plus a load of exciting new digital stuff for people who support what we do. It’s actually excellent value, honest, and will help us continue to promote new independent artists and labels.

Sign up and you’ll receive our physical magazines delivered to your door, our digital editions, exclusive podcasts and playlists and access to our EXTREMELY glamorous Members Lounge. You’ll be the envy of all your friends.