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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
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ 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
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ 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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+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Cotton Casino
We Love Cotton

Over the course of her time as high priestess of Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO, Cotton Casino became more and more a featured figure in Makoto Kawabata's shamanistic psych troupe, her pristine vocals leading the cultish family unit into more heavenly figures, her chanted mantras on records like Univers Zen Ou De Zéro À Zéro and Mantra of Love the spiritual spirit-guides on unexpectedly beautiful sets. Recently, however, it was announced that Cotton would be departing AMT, assumedly to concentrate on her own solo work. We Love Cotton, the first official entry into her discography, marks a radical change of pace from those who'd grown used to seeing her cloaked in all those psychedelic shades. Colorfully composed entirely on various synthesizers, the disc favors the ersatz over the earthen, its variety of spacey presets and plasticky synth-tones conjuring fluorescent-lit environs in which the overall effect seems retro-futurist without being like, y'know, retro. Of course, this is just to Western ears that the idea of synth music seems strangely quaint and 20th century. In all likelihood, songs like "Place" and "Road" are responses to, or reinterpretations of, the most shiny, disposable J-pop; the cutesy, Casiotonic tones of the former going so far into the fatuous as to seem evocative of Canto-pop. Coming at such sound from a detached or even outsider perspective, Cotton brings a strange weight to precedings, her adventurous musical spirit and decade's worth of time in the underground giving this a natural grittiness that could never survive in the charted world of the popular music biz. I'm guessing the lyrics she's singing would provide more finite answers to this, but with the language barrier an actual barrier in this scenario, one's left to wonder whether her tunes are filled with weighty ruminations on consumerist Japanese culture and the roles and expectations of women in the popular culture thereof, or whether she's just crooning natty, almost meaningless phrases to fit her melodic synth-songs. Cotton's singing, here, is much different from the demure modes and moods that were her place in Acid Mothers Temple's fried fantasias, where her singing was draped as the embodiment of the group's holistic holiness. Recalling the girlish tones she coyly cooed in out front of Mady Gula Blue Heaven in the mid-'90s, here her voice is filled with capricious mischief, lurching and wailing in league with her Casiotoned fantasias. In staging such, there are times — especially on opener "Sunflower" — where Cotton seems very much under the influence of Tujiko Noriko; but, whilst Tujiko fashions damaged digitalia into dystopian song-worlds like someone painstakingly assembling cities from thousands of splintering matchsticks, Cotton's forays into such construction seem a little more fumbling, a preset simplicity keeping her songs set to simple rhythms, which contrast with the fanciful flights of her wailing singing.

by Anthony Carew

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