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

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Kama Aina
Music Activist

The Pastels' handmade/handcrafted little-label-with-the-loving-heart Geographic debuted, essentially, as a place in which the Scottish indie-poppers could introduce the world at large to the ad-hoc faux-naïve big-band bashings of micro-pop maestro Tori Kudo, the leader of Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Not long after that, they issued another "primer," putting together a compilation introducing Shinji Shibayama's heavenly folk-psych outing Nagisa Ni Te to said at-large Western consumers. Behind both men, of course, stand good women, and Nagisa Ni Te, in particular, are often testament to the spiritual glories and domestic blisses of a loving union.

This puts both these iconic artists at odds with Takuji Aoyagi, the latest idiosyncratic Japanese artist to get the Geographic "career overview" treatment. Aoyagi is a lonesome soul and a wandering traveler, a man-as-island so obsessed with islands he finds himself returning time and again to various dots amidst the Pacific's great blue. Kama Aina means "islander" in Hawaiian, and across this best-of-thus-far set we see Aoyagi composing weirdly-tropical song-sketches. Ad-hoc and unpredictable, Aoyagi plays an acoustic guitar whose strings struggle to stay in tune with the humid heat, twanging dangling parts over cheap beat-boxes keeping rudimentary rhythms. Inspired by various native musics of the Pacific, he appropriates bits and pieces of tuned percussion — from traditional Japanese gongs to dabblings of Gamelan — and mixes them amongst tunes filled with field recordings, handclaps, and melodica. The soundtrackist nature of the set sets it not too far from another Geographic one-man-show, Dorset's Directorsound, but Aoyagi is much more keen to forge into uncharted waters. He paints portraits not of spaghetti-Western vistas, Italian cobblestone laneways, English meadows, or any of the other favored faux-movie-score scenery; instead he invites us into the sweaty skin of a weird Japanese gent wandering through tiny song islands and trying to musically represent conflicting cultures and the clash of technology with tradition. But, if you think that makes sense, the disc also has human-beatboxing, kraut-rock rhythms, references to various foreign-film screen sirens, fake applause, and a knock-out instrumentalist run through a number by new-waver heroine Lizzie Mercer Descloux that could pass for a lost Young Marble Giants outtake any day of the week.

by Anthony Carew

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