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neumu
Saturday, December 16, 2017 
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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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artist
Stephen R. Smith
recording
Tableland
Emporer Jones
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Disclaimer: the author has recorded for Emperor Jones in the past and will do so again. Anybody who honestly believes that I'd give a favorable review to a labelmate just to make nice with the boss can stop reading now.

Understatement is so damned cool. Tableland's cover is all black, except for the artist's name in the upper left-hand corner and the record's title over on the right. The back cover lists its five songs in the same dignified serif font down the middle of an identical black field. The music, meanwhile — instrumental stuff of the dreamy-guitar-floating-above-the-surface-of-the-earth variety — gently reprimands those of us who, like me, hate most instrumental rock stuff so much that we're deeply suspicious of almost all of it. Unlike that hipster dreck that makes me wanna retch, though, this isn't wanky or pretentious or high-minded; it's unassuming, even when it's grand (as on the 20-minute-long title track). Smith doesn't require many effects outside of some chorus and reverb to coax dreamlike sounds from his guitar: the pieces on Tableland develop slowly and organically, like root vegetables forming underground, most of the action taking place somewhere out of view. A couple of them begin with indistinct sounds that could be field recordings of ships in a harbor; one of these, "Blood Partridges," sets sail from there into an icy world of electric piano and Jon Hassel-like synthetic horn. The sounds Smith gets are carefully and lovingly crafted, and the end results gleam like polished stones. What he does is very subtle (though there's a moment in the title track, when a keyboard floats in, that's as brash as Earth, Wind and Fire's horn section), and won't be generating a lot of buzz. But it's a lot better than its gaudier, spotlight-hungry contemporaries, and its self-assured, leisurely pace is almost unnervingly cool.


by John Darnielle




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