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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
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+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
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+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Barbara Morgenstern
Nichts Muss

"WE'RE ALL GONNA FUCKING DIE," says the back of the sleeve of the compact disc. And yes, yes we are. You and I aren't gonna live forever. Not a chance in (the nonexistent) hell. Incongruity comes into this when spinning the compact disc inside the sleeve. As, this isn't music screaming out on the edges, or music weeping for the frailty of mankind. Barbara Morgenstern's music always seems more reassuring than that, warm and nurturing like a black cup of coffee, huddled down in its own internal world, all flickering flames, far removed from the oh-the-wind-and-the-rain that plays out outside, on the other side of windows. Such said, maybe that's all that all music is: reassurance. Like religion itself. Assuaging anxiety over inevitable death. Over that paradox of existence: annihilation acceptance. The song itself, "We're All Gonna Fucking Die," is one of a handful of cuts on this, Morgenstern's third album, that find the abstract-electro keyboard-droning songsmith hitting some kind of kraut-rockist rhythmic stride, maybe even breaking out of those cultivated climes of warmth and reassurance. Driving through the rain, if that doesn't sound too much like a Bon Jovi song title. After her last longplayer, Fjörden, oft found Morgenstern building up opaque layers of keytone-drone and digi-crackles with the help of Pole professor Stefan Betke, here, cuts like "We're All Gonna Fucking Die" — with its aggressive syncopated synthbeat stabs — and "Merci (Dass Es Dich Gibt)" — with its Pole-ish "horizontal production" pulling pieces of the incessant rhythms in and out of focus — and, most of all, the eight-minute title track, ride a relentless abstract-electro-equivalent-of-the-Dinger-beat out on a highway of staccato/downpicked guitar and glissando piano. All are about motion, repetition, building a kind of kinetic musical energy through movement and rhythm. Other songs, of course, are happy to stay inside and warm, to work in internal, heartwarming type ways. Nichts Muss is, in either of these modes, a more direct disc than Morgenstern's two prior efforts. Her keyboard lines are left more "clean," her singing is more confident, the assembling of songs is more a case of songwriting than of Pro Tools-ing. Betke and Thomas Fehlmann both offer assistance, but this time Morgenstern doesn't seem to lean on them that much. And, given that the songs herein are as good as numbers like "Nichts und Niemand" — which is all flushes of analog organ, torpid torch-song singing, blocked-out bass shifts, and flickering drum programming — it might seem that Morgenstern, seeing things for what they are, has found a growing musical strength within. And, in this now, that's more assurance than reassurance.

by Anthony Carew

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