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Music

Ryan Teague: Field Drawings (CD, Village Green, February 2012)

These 12 pieces of melodic modern classical are charming, melodic, and expertly arranged. Somehow, the record as a whole is a little underwhelming, and I think there’s a clue in its title: it feels rather like Ryan Teague has been on a field trip around half a decade of music, and come back with a […]

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Music

Dictaphone: Poems From A Rooftop (CD, Sonic Pieces, April 2012)

This record has a wonderfully fresh take on the modern classical template, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it’s doing. We get sonorous chimes, tinkling pianos, and atmospheric strings. We get some jazzy touches, like the soulful reed instruments and the percussion’s tendency towards soft brushes and hand-claps. We get a subtle […]

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Music

Colleen: Les Ondes Silencieuses (CD, The Leaf Label, March 2008)

There’s a beautiful simplicity to these pieces. Each features just one or two instruments, including viola da gamba (buffoon that I am, I thought this was a cello before I read the sleeve), acoustic guitar, spinet, and crystal glasses. They are sparsely constructed but unfussily melodic, and Colleen (aka Cécile Schott) clearly has an intimate […]

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Music

Deaf Center: Owl Splinters (CD, Type, February 2011)

Apologies for the modern-classical family tree stuff, but: Take the spiky cello of Erik Skodvin (aka Svarte Greiner), the delicate piano of Otto Totland (aka half of Nest), add some lo-fi drones, what sound like vocal choruses, and general production cleverness with assistance from Nils Frahm, and you get… something rather great. This album evokes […]

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Music

Sanso-Xtro: Sentimentalist (CD, Type, May 2005)

Melissa Agate’s debut was something pretty special. She combines unconventionally played strings with unknown plucked instruments (the internet suggests the kalimba, which is a Kenyan so-called thumb piano) and various chimes and bells — and, y’know, whatever other instruments she could find, along with occasional breathlike wordless vocals. The results are delicate and beautiful. I […]