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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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Young God

Compared to Michael Gira's other great discovery, Devendra Banhart, Akron/Family's music is less immediate, but possessed of a slow, seeping potency transmitted through carefully layered arrangements that bubble away under seemingly tranquil acoustic surfaces. Gira's Young God label has constructed a beguiling semi-mythology around this quartet of young musicians, now Brooklyn-based but originally transplanted from rural origins. Akron/Family is presented as pastoral spontaneity meets folk spirituality, a debut album dressed up in the arcane imagery of Albertus Seba's 18th century illustrations from The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. But it is also a meticulously assembled world of sound, as much a product of contemporary studio montage techniques as of timeless melodies. This doesn't necessarily raise doubts about the group's sincerity, but it does suggest a lineage descended as much from, say, Four Tet as from The Band (whose members were themselves self-consciously drawn to myth-making). Another clue may be found in the typography, in the ambiguity of that slash dividing the band's name — they're not so much practicing the art of deception as nodding playfully at their own self-invention.

The music confidently mixes crystalline acoustic melodies with slurries of percussion and noise samples, gradually peeling back the band's simple folk facade to reveal the textural sophistication of their compositions. Which is not to say these songs lack emotional impact. They connect in a roundabout way, loping in lazily drawn concentric circles, but their irresistible centripetal force draws you in until you're fully submerged. Musical touchstones include Tim Buckley at his most diffuse and oceanic (the intricate, keening sprawl of "Running, Returning") alongside Nick Drake at his most touchingly direct ("Afford," "I'll Be on the Water"), but these are sketchy evocations at best — the band's sound is firmly its own, peppered with multiple idiosyncrasies, detours and about-turns. Using field recordings to flesh out their acoustic vignettes and often wildly diversifying within the space of a single song, Akron/Family merge shifting, sometimes impressionistic arrangements with limpid lyricism. The result is an elusive — but strong and deeply fascinating — debut.

by Tom Ridge

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