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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Charalambides
Joy Shapes
Kranky Records

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Joy Shapes, pregnant with an intense stasis and nocturnal elegance, is also Charalambides most intimate offering yet. Five songs hedge a path, which shall take seventy-five minutes to pass through, yet shall ask for frequent visits before unveiling all of its many secrets.

Surrounded by Joy Shapes undulating fields the sight which most arrests are the dynamic and harmonic ranges being battered by Christina Carter's jarring alto. Her elliptical lyrics and insatiable cries bring an unexplored land ripe with possibilities to the fore. As on "Here Not Here", wordless vocal tone clusters seep out through skeletal arrangements of lap steel, bells, and wood wand, whilst moaning chimes teeter awkwardly, barely keeping balance, their staggering shifts staining the air with uneasiness. Though still rather timid, "Joy Shapes" is the most approachable progeny Charalambides have spawned in some time. Carter exhales a melancholy lullaby with guitar textures slumbering in a soft bed of resonant drones. As the piece sallies on, Tom Carter's guitar grapples with Murray's psaltery like a river rolls pebbles. "Natural Night", meanwhile, adds new colour with brittle chimes crackling like crushed glass, gradually bleeding into dissonance, Carter's voice looming in the shadows to add dimension and tonal possibility. After thirteen minutes of harsh chimes and sharp tones running the length of each other like knives being sharpened, a meek coda of whistling bells feels like crawling into a melodic duvet.

Each of these long, winding musical passages marry disciplined understatement to the sense of a disturbingly naked reality, indeed, they float about their guests like the ghost of Hamlet's father: a gloomy phantom that communicates without speaking. "Voice For You", is a reedy lap steel wandering through a labyrinth of long squealing tones, with gritty electric guitar reverberating overhead like a rock waiting to fall. Amid Carter's a capella, which shifts into a poignant banshee wail, lovely chance occurrences of displacement and empty space are stumbled upon and lend the proceedings an air of spontaneity. Carter's voice, which sounds like an instrument being tortured, is slowly treated so that it washes into the whirling tones and cacophonic scrapes which carry the album to its end.

If there is something alien about Joy Shapes it is not in the face of the otherworldly, but directly in the face of this world. The mood of Joy Shapes is similar to the existentialism of Sartre or Camus, as they stumble before the alien image of what they are. A milestone in the quest for insightful rapprochement between composition and improvisation, Joy Shapes is an incredibly opulent and worryingly irresistible album indeed.

Reviewed by Max Schaefer
Nocturnal qualms and eyes that brim like lamps betoken slender sketches, poetry and short stories strewn alongside piano playing, a fiddling of knobs and murmured dialogue with a medley of electronic gizmo\'s. A twenty-one year old person lodged within the University of Victoria, Max harvests organic sounds on a sullen sampler, watching water unwind like two broad lengths of ribbon and nursing a book below the canopy of a cheery-tree. Max believes that the world is made present by people\'s presence in it and that art is one such way in which a distinctive disclosure might be crafted.

See other reviews by Max Schaefer

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