Noah Georgeson's music listens as though it were a dialogue. Classical guitar and piano are employed richly behind his blanketed bellicose tone. Such goals are furthered by the accompaniment of the Kite Hill Orchestra, a dreamy apparatus that results in intricately layered sound. Georgeson often speaks his lyrics, as though acting out a one-man vaudevillian show, covered in thick dust on a Western stage.
"Build and Work" has flamenco-inspired guitar and hand claps, built on the echo of pneumatic nail guns that pound on wood. The backing harp warms our shelter. On other songs, such as "An Anvil," Georgeson employs the oft-overlooked Mellotron with effective weight. Percussive silliness calls to order "Wooden Empire," which is furthered by his guitar play, and rhythm of perhaps caxexe, shekere, or some other form of Afro-Latino percussion. In voice, Georgeson often resembles the Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum. That is particularly true of the vocals on "Find Shelter," the standout title track.
The aged aesthetic of Find Shelter arrives at a moment when many modern recordings seek to root themselves in the past (witness M. Ward's productions over the past several years.) Whereas M. Ward's albums bespeak an admiration for early recording techniques, as applied toward the middle of the Twentieth century, Georgeson seems to be working toward a grittier pastiche. Perhaps intended to predate recording altogether, his album appears to have bubbled up from a moment when steam engines carried our weight.
Hailed as a major contributor of the freak folk sound (producing Joanna Newsom's Milk-Eyed Mender and both recording and contributing to Devandra Banhart's Cripple Crow), Georgeson does his best to stay free from those shackles. Instead, he has created spare, homespun music. Georgeson welcomes us to nights outside of his cabin, drinking a cup of homemade wine and settling long-running disputes over changes in the patterns of the forest. • Robert Karmin