Country Music is the second album by prolific experimentalists Vision Fortune, and their first for ATP Recordings. Recorded during an intense two-month research residency, generously funded by the Cuatroquesos Foundation, in the idyllic yet remote region of Tuscany, Italy, Country Music is both a significant development and audible departure from the sound of the band's debut Mas Fiestas con el Grupo Vision Fortune.
Confined in an expansive country villa for the duration of the project, the group soon found the breathtaking beauty of the area little compensation for the almost complete lack of wheat-and/or gluten-free products, a severely limited selection of DVDs, and minimal recording equipment. Only able to record in scant free hours, and forced to make the most of their immediate sonic environment, the group often had no choice but to forgo their simple daily routines of sampling local gastronomic delicacies and honing their horse-riding skills in order to complete the album.
In spite of these obstacles, the ever-adventurous Vision Fortune have created their most sonically inventive work to date - sparse, yet incredibly detailed and precise - 'Blossom''s resigned and fragile vocal layers feature an appearance by the live-in maggiordomo, for example - whilst the percussion on 'Dry Mouth' was created solely from the sound of silverware chiming against fine china bowls of foie gras d'oie.
Likewise, 'Habitat' utilises the distinctive acoustic qualities of a well stocked wine cellar; the jarring thuds of sub-bass and violent shakes of vintage Masseto combine to create an uneasy atmosphere of underlying tension and strain, ever present in the secluded countryside retreat. 'Broken Teeth''s crooning vocals and amaretto-smooth bass lines, meanwhile, are juxtaposed with dense lyrical content concerning both the difficulties of pursuing legal action against large commercial airlines, and the conflicting emotions that arise when presented with extreme financial comfort.
The album's finale, Back Crawl II, was informed by the only form of emotional release available to the group at the time - a 25-meter swimming pool. Blending ambient water recordings with the various rhythmic clicks and ticks of a lacrosse stick, the result is a wealth of amorphous, liquid textures that are at once enveloping and exhilarating. Given the difficulties Vision Fortune faced in the creation of Country Music, it is perhaps unsurprising that the album is both challenging, and rewarding, in equal measure.