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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
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+ 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
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+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
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+ 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
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Tujiko Noriko
From Tokyo To Naiagara

When it comes to wrangling free-ranging electro-fuckery into fluttering pop-songs, there's a definite, clearly-defined holy mystic trinity, far and away, far and above everyone else, like glittering stars in a clear night sky, princesses of marrying distressed audiology and soothing lullaby, singing sweetly to a growing army of sentimental geeks who've had their fill of masturbatory dudes jacking their glitch up in show-off fashion. These three kings of tone/tonalism, organic/electro, experimentalism/songform straddling are, in alphabetized rank: Björk, Haco, and Tujiko Noriko. In such a statuesque sisterhood of monumental electro-pop iconography, Tujiko is babe-in-the-woods amidst this tall timber. Already on her fourth album in four years, the still-starting-out Tokyo-based songsmith sires the sweetest pop-songs from the most ersatz of faux-exotic synthesizer presets and the regular gear-shuddering hisses of the out-electro set, lacing these openly emotional songs with layered vocals. Tujiko's voice has a graceful, sentimental, warm-and-nurturing kind of quality about it. Where Björk and Haco both follow the caprice of their powerful pipes off up to high-wire heights, Noriko doesn't have those one-name icons' "swooping" abilities. Instead, she uses her vocals to emphasize an already-existing atmosphere; so that, even when they are multi-track'd and pushed to the front of the mix, they feel like they are enveloped within the song, bedded down within the fried circuits and flickering fluorescent lights and such. This gives Tujiko a hard-to-describe high quality quality in which it seems like she is at one with the music she's making. Maybe kinda like those robo-sexual scenes near the end of the "Revolutionary Girl Utena" spin-off movie where the animated babe and the car and the implicit erotic imagery and the revolution-girl-style-now overtones all merge into one disconcerting moment of animé liberté. Of course, evoking cartoon images in metaphoric description of Tujiko's craft seems well off the mark, as the utterly emotional, human quality to her electro-poems and digi-lullabies is the greatest thing about this entirely great artist.

by Anthony Carew

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