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Thursday, July 24, 2014 
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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
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+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
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+ Rafael Toral - Space
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+ Excepter - Alternation
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+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
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+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
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+ 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
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+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
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+ 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
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Savath + Savalas
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Apropa't
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Arriving on the heels of a Scott Herren media frenzy, the second full-length from his alter ego Savath + Savalas, a collaboration with Barcelona-based singer/songwriter Eva Puyuelo Muns, will no doubt garner more attention than its predecessor Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey. It will also no doubt confound those who thought they had Herren nicely labeled as that glitch-hop producer Prefuse 73. Apropa't is not the most accessible album, either for the casual listener or the ardent Prefuse fan; it is, however, sublimely relaxed in its "come hither" tones, which invite exploration, but do by no means promise explanation.

The official line is that the pair was brought together partly by a love of Brazilian music and partly by a love of melancholy. And it is certainly a melancholic theme that glues the album together. Which is not to say it's a drag to listen to. On the contrary, the melancholia takes on a cathartic expression, perhaps representative of how its producers were feeling as they created it, all strumming acoustic guitars, meandering keys and muted, dusted drums.

Herren's Prefuse 73 persona can be found lightly fingering the soundscapes in subtle places. There are glitchy elements to such tracks as "Interludio 44" and "Por Que Ella Vino," in the string arrangements that hint at Herren's other lives. "Colores Sin Nombre" has underlying tones of digital wizardry in a distorted bassline submerged way down in the mix, and various other knob-twiddling effects. He blends such effects seamlessly, using them to enhance the mood and tone, rather than grating against it as you might expect.

Don't be surprised if it takes a good few listens to really crack the surface. Apropa't has a tendency at first to gently wash over you, striking no particular chord. But as you pay closer attention to the music, the melodic wash of it all becomes one of its addictive qualities. The tracks are short, clocking in around three minutes for the most part, and it is often hard to tell where one ends and another begins, especially since many of them seem to switch gear, mood and tempo midway through (e.g. "A La Nit"). In this way the duo offhandedly make traditional song — and therefore album — structure seemingly irrelevant. Once you submit yourself to this method, the music more fully realizes itself. The fact that the vocals are in Spanish should make little to no difference to the English-speaking listener — for the most part they are so airily uttered that even if you understand Spanish, they may still just float over your head. But the vocals are harmoniously layered, and mixed down to merge at times with the other sounds, transforming them into another instrument, and another weave in the tapestry.

Apropa't maintains a quiet beauty that defies real explanation. Listening to the album and trying to explain or recall it in detail is like trying to remember a dream and all its nuances, even though its mood may stay with you all day. It will certainly garner increased respect for Herren's expansive skills, at the risk of unjustly overshadowing Muns' part in the creation. The work is clearly the result of a unique melding of musical minds that have created their own space in which to express themselves perfectly, and that fact demands respect. Apropa't will reveal different and perhaps contradictory elements upon each listening, and so will have you returning again and again to plumb the depths of its art.


by Lucy Beer




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