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+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
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+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
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+ 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
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Christina Carter

Electrice is an album notable not only for what is says, but also for what it does not. Christina Carter is here confined to guitar and voice, and dapples each of the four lengthy compositions in the same key and tuning. These restrictions propel her creativity forward, as this singular breath exhales a rich, multifaceted sound; its wake sneaks up and rouses the slumberer to a most unsettling alertness.

Throughout, tones range from hushed and reverent to possessed and delirious. "Yellow Pine" is led by a murky, heavily reverberating guitar figure, underpinned by well-spaced, reedy chords, and Carter's chilly, ghostlike intonations. Add to this the fact that the unfolding is decidedly cyclical; add yet further that only minute fluctuations in intensity and strength take place, and an environment of wafting figures and pale lanterns is quickly cast. "Moving Intercepted" includes some more deranged chordal attacks, with a woozy drone oscillating back and forth across the stereo field, but they never mar or overshadow the blurry sea of contorted chords and wordless vocals that quiver at this album's core.

Again, it is the limited nature of these works that stamps them with a certain distinctness. Many techniques, tunings, moods, and musical backdrops aren't explored, but Carter channels their absence into a certain presence, their omission indeed standing out as much as the tumbling guitar motifs and Carter's haunting falsetto. Since the palette implemented is none too broad, a repetitiveness does seep into the songs, but it, too, seems to touch upon and bring out the frustrated, yearning themes of this work. In the end, all of this helps focus and make these otherworldly incantations startlingly concrete and specific.

For these reasons, the listener's relationship to this album is simply one of contamination: it slowly spills into your bloodstream and, as though in a stupor, you simply follow it, awestruck by the twisting, mysterious shapes that dance like a plume of smoke through the sky.

by Max Schaefer

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