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Editor's note: We have activated the Neumu 44.1 kHz Archive. Use the link at the bottom of this list to access hundreds of Neumu reviews.

+ 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
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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The music of Icelandic duo Orri Jónsson and Kári Pétursson exists at some vague midpoint between accident and artifice, making its presence gently felt through a mixture of naïve charm and careful calculation. With this being their third album in 10 years, they're hardly the most prolific of artists, and there's an unmistakable air of mystery about them that their sonic playfulness is unable to dispel. At one level it's your basic, lo-fi torch 'n' twang, a muddy mélange of reverb guitar, vintage electronica and found sounds — skewed Americana and underground rock as interpreted, slothfully, by outsiders. But Slowblow have got this knack of throwing some unexpected moves into the mix, so, for instance, just when you think you've got "Very Slow Bossanova" sussed as a clunky bit of off-kilter eccentricity, it's transformed into a beautiful melodic refrain. They also confidently tread that narrow middle ground boldly occupied by Tom Waits, between frazzled, urbanized Western folk and the dark carnival noises of what neo-cons would refer to as Old Europe.

Alongside the ramshackle sounds of old skeleton bones being rattled are moments of exquisite fragility, with the addition of ghostly, childlike vocals from Kristín Anna Valtysdóttir, singer with the Icelandic band Múm. "I Know You Can Smile" and "Within Tolerance" unfold with an inexorable sense of melancholia but are lent an unpredictable edge with crackly, squally interruptions as they skate over uneven surfaces. The distant sound of fireworks accompanying the blissfully soporific "Cardboard Box" is a piece of audio-verité that heightens the song's sense of intimacy, as if it's gradually attempting to retreat into itself, away from the world outside. "Hamburger Cemetary" (sic) begins as a fuzzy voiceover backed with Mexican guitar but turns into an unexpectedly poignant instrumental, complete with dramatic strings. Plenty of such vivid moments crop up over the album's duration, jostling for space amid field recordings and all manner of sonic detritus. The overall impression is of a kind of eerie, mutant Dust Bowl music.

Slowblow's sound has its familiar touchstones — a bit of lo-fi Neil Young and Sparklehorse, an echo of The Walkabouts and Galaxie 500 — and its supposed randomness doesn't completely ring true, but allowing for an element of contrivance and some familiar ground being trodden on, it still makes for a pretty unique listening experience.

by Tom Ridge

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