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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

44.1 kHz Archive

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Mother's Daughter & Other Songs
Ace Fu

You could make a case that all popular music is an argument about technology — how far we should take it, what role it should play, what you lose when you use technology rather than unadorned voice and instruments (which, come to think of it, are a form of technology in themselves). The question really surfaces, though, with bands like Tunng, who combine the most traditional forms of folk music with electronic flourishes in ways that seem so natural that you wonder where the borders are. This is the kind of music where human voices morph into computerized washes of sound, where the simplest, loveliest sorts of folk harmonies lie comfortably atop the blurps and twitches of electronic beats, and where it all fits together, almost magically. You can compare Tunng's iridescent tunes to Manitoba (now Caribou) or the Beta Band, but this band is rooted more in deep folk modality, luminous as Gary Higgins in spots, but structured with space-age rhythms and accents.

Mother's Daughter & Other Songs percolates along, remaining intense and driving even at low volumes. There's a pulse to it that gives its tunes a modern edge, even when the melodies sound like 1960s British folk. "Fair Doreen" is perhaps the most folky. It glows with Pentangle-ish guitar chords and close harmonies, yet its crackling, popping electro beat moves the piece forward. "Pool Beneath the Pond" layers precise, world-beat-ish drums with a looped guitar phrase in a way that is jigsaw-complicated yet full of air and light. And the title track, "Mother's Daughter," takes a beautiful fragment of a woman's voice and transforms it into electronic squiggles mid-tone, making it wonderfully natural and strange at the same time. This vocal sound floats atop abrasive, burped-out percussion and radiant, resonant guitar chords, its tone stretched and mutated in the background. It lends a ghostly, visionary quality to the verse, when it comes, making a song that could be CSN-conventional into something unearthly and mysterious.

One of the disc's highlights comes near the end in "Code Breaker," where, over a clipped and mantra-ish guitar line, the singer whispers lyrics about the limits of science and the mysteries of human attraction. Though referencing double-helix discoverers and quantum theorists, the cut seems to come down on the side of love, unknowable as always but communicated through gorgeous fragments of song.

by Jennifer Kelly

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