Monday, April 22, 2024 
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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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Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós make their instruments cry — arranged just so, coming to life, soaring, peaking and then weeping. It's magnificent and heartbreaking. They pull you away from life and, at the same time, manage to make life look more meaningful. With strings, horns, piano and operatic cries, they show you the world as you like to see it. (Sorry to cop, but Radiohead said it best.)

You can't listen to Sigur Rós without slipping away from reality. Listen to their new album, Takk... in public; the hustle and bustle of downtown streets fade into the distance (as if it were all taking place, mechanized and fake, on some TV set) and make you wonder what it's all for. 'Cause right now the real beauty of living is happening between your ears. And, suddenly, you remember what it's all for.

Iceland's Sigur Rós piece together breathtaking orchestrations that sound like they're singing to you from another world, telling you why your world is not so bad, that even in all the miserable monotony, something beautiful perseveres. Their ethereal musical inventions start small, with gentle coos and keyboard tinkering, then build and build until they're cascading high and alive somewhere overhead, inflated by grandiose instrumentation that could tear you to pieces and then pick you up and put you back together. Their hypnotic, emotionally deep compositions rise and fall like a lump in your throat, rearranging your perception, making life feel more full and more fragile.

You can imagine the vocals, at once operatic and childlike, escaping some distant mountain peak where, naturally, echoes follow, while the drummer, closer to the ground, comes down on the kit with such devotion and strength, you'd think his only purpose in this world were to play drums. Teary strings enter, dramatizing the moment, atop repeated bass-line melodies and subdued electronic effects. Brilliantly conceived with the precision of a classical composer and sincerity of a bleeding heart, their intricate musings intertwine as if enlightening one another, as if they would be powerless without one another.

Awash in hazy fuzz and quiet-to-loud production, Takk..., Sigur Rós' follow-up to 2002's critically acclaimed ( ), doesn't find them making any dramatic shifts from the sprawling formula they first built when they started crafting music eight years ago amidst the icy, barren landscape of Reykjavik. But you will find the drums and bass offering a bit more to hold onto as you wander amongst their beautiful and brooding soundscapes.

"Glósóli" begins with delicate marching beats and cascading, alto cries before breaking into a crunching, stomach-turning wall of noise, while the intensely touching "Hoppípolla" stirs with climbing piano keys and mid-range singing that seems to console — though, unless you speak Icelandic (or the improvised, made-up language they call "hopelandic"), you'll never know for sure. The minimalist, quiet-then-loud "Sé Lest" and the peaceful, brooding "Mílanó," clocking in at 8:40 and 10:25 minutes, respectively, are the album's two longest and perhaps most mesmerizing tracks.

Takk... is for feeling — feeling the need to get away and finding the reason to go back.

by Jenny Tatone

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