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Music Reviews

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Castle Talk
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Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Growing & Mark Evan Burden
Self Titled
Xeng Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

October 24, 2005
The self-titled collaborative effort between Growing and pianist Mark Evan Burden is a split CD based on two compositions that can be heard separately, but work much better when digested back to back.

Those familiar with Growing's previous releases - notably the superlative album from 2003, The Sky's Run Into the Sea - will not be jaw-droppingly surprised with this 19-minute "Firmament," a prelude to an underbelly of drone-y splendor. The snake-wrangling, incantatory ambient that the ensemble produces cuts directly into Portland-based Burden's "10 24 02," a busy, ascending and descending musical movement.

"Firmament" is like a cloudy aural painting, drained through its grey corners that gently collapse into themselves. Growing's half of the disc is a peek into the mind itself as well as those protein complexes capable of pumping new blood into dead veins. The pianist's piece is a slippery glissando wherein notes emerge like a phoenix after being suppressed to near silence.

In the middle of this slow chaos, there are little pockets of warmth that, in Mark Evan Burden's case, evolve into drops of convalescent sound fragments. Then again, how one could allow an experimental, avant-garde ensemble - sometimes reminiscent of Brian Eno - to mess around with a modern pianist is something most will never comprehend. But if listening closely, it is easier to realize how these two go hand in glove without interfering with each other's work.

When I had the chance to talk to Joe DeNardo circa The Sky's Run Into the Sea, I asked how he felt like when everyone wrote about Growing's music being so womb-like. He dismissed those comments simply by saying that he didn't know how a womb sounds like; my opinion is that we should really ask a newborn for an answer because I think he or she would relate to this record. Maybe it's just me, but these nebulous sounds must definitely be the kind a newborn hears just before the water breaks.

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes



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