Wednesday, February 1, 2023 
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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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The Weed Tree

The first fledgling spawned by Espers filled the air with the hazy glow of a midday sun — melodies hung like spiderwebs, delicate, glistening and barely there. One after the other, the pieces bathed in home-production techniques, flecks of dust that drifted lazily in the balmy air, and the inimitable warmth of bowed guitars, moaning cellos and mossy electronic oscillations booming throughout these expansive, open-ended pastures. Compositions such as "Meadows" and "Byss and Abyss" were sluggish, psychedelic marshes of multilayered harmonies, rainbow-colored synth glissandos atop which the full-throated, lilting voices of Greg Weeks and Meg Baird sketched mournful melodies. There was something mystical about the droning, slightly smeared organ chords; something in the prickly guitar feedback and erratic, scribbling electronics harkened back to gothic architecture, blood-red moons looming behind chapels, gnostic ceremonies, and late-night tales of demons that dwelled in the woods.

For this six-song EP, these mystical undertones remain very much present as the group, now a six-piece ensemble, presents five covers and one original piece. Espers sample from disparate territories, weaving a nostalgic Nico song ("Afraid") alongside a sullen Durutti Column piece ("Tomorrow") and a silly, blithe jaunt by Michael Hurley ("Blue Mountain"). What is most noticeable from the onset is the maturation that the voices of Weeks and Baird have seen, especially Baird who now often sings in a vibrato. Both vocalists seem more confident; their voices more robust and pronounced, they are no longer draped in the background like pleasing tapestries, but add stirring, sensual melodies and baroque harmonies that accentuate and, at times, guide the warm, earthy tones, scrubs of electric guitar and thick throbs of gritty electronic debris.

Previously, the band had been all but devoid of percussion, but with it now expanded to a sextet, a light clamor of percussion bounds through these psychedelic brothels; drums, even though they do not fashion much in the way of rhythm, permeate these pieces as well, supplying added weight or density to the textures. "Dead King," the sole original piece this work harbors, first finds Baird drawing a tale of lament beside simple guitar plucking. Near the halfway point the force that stems from a larger lineup establishes itself, as thumping drums, violin and flute are swathed with a soft coating of distortion and swell into darker, slightly sinister shapes. Not merely a morsel to tide ailing adorers over till the proper follow-up, The Weed Tree proves a worthwhile venture in and of itself.

by Max Schaefer

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