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+ 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
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+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
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+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
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+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
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+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
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+ 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
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+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Tujiko Noriko
Blurred In My Mirror
Room 40

Dionysius lurks in the drunk, slurred speech of Tujiko Noriko's irrational electronic bleating. Noriko's raspy voice is stretched like a rubber band, darting from playful conversational tones to muffled shrieks while dirty beats, skirting through dark alleyways of grimy ambiance and scarring sonic debris, are flung about like specks of paint on a canvas. Most tunings are off-kilter, blurred by a wave of reverb, which makes every twisting arpeggio and pulsating beat appear as though it were about to topple over. The drowsy, shape-shifting textures coupled with the strangely calm, gong-like pedal tones are unexpectedly seductive. As such, listening to Blurred in My Mirror is a sensuous experience; this is music to feel, not analyze.

Like an overgrown forest, swarming with dead branches and tousled trees, every nook and cranny of this album harbors something that will surprise. One gets the sense that the work's origins are familiar enough: subtle digital processing slowly deconstructs high-pitched frequencies, sprinkles in a few loops or delays, and drapes sweaty throbs in swathes of ghostly, echoing noise. And yet, this being said, it is the organization and minor details that endow this work with some element of distinction, as in album opener "Niagara Hospital," where, after successive listens, one's ears trip upon a chilling, earnest piano motif brooding in the background.

There is an almost Dadaist methodology stirring in the precarious whims of certain pieces. As a digital processor distorts and transforms pre-existing sounds on "I'm Not Dreaming, King," the resulting chatter resembles rapid-fire fiddle squeaks, punctuated by wheezing and snorting sounds. The at-times-boisterous drum patterns also have a fungal squelchiness that sounds like marshmallows used as beaters. While the work has a certain guttural and discordant quality, each piece is altogether accessible and capable of eliciting vibrant emotions. Numerous pieces revel in pollutants, grit and grime, tossed about in a tide of lost satellite signals that no longer convey anything, while others are solemn and pervaded by sadness. On "Tennisplayer Makes Me Smile," for instance, there is the chipped, gritty gurgle of processed guitar that recalls Fennesz, as Noriko muses in a clipped chirp, "All I ever wanted was everything/ All I ever got is cold." "Shayou," while lashed at with wild noise, is tempered by fluttering, pastoral string scrapes that evoke the image of trees swaying at night.

Songs may seem a trifle accidental or capricious, but from these plucked guitars and oscillating, seething digital sounds sprout distinct forms that glisten with a palpable sense of fun. Dionysian, indeed, Blurred in My Mirror is pop music for the contemporary listener, an addictive narcotic that appeals to fuzzy dreams and frolicking fits of fancy.

by Max Schaefer

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