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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
Saso
I Can Do Nice
Melter Snow Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
After a two-year absence, Saso staggers into sight once more and after gazing intently into the faintly familiar face of I Can Do Nice, one cannot but help notice the ripening of features. Saso's meek skeletal frame of acoustic guitar, draped in a solemn attire of piano chords and timid electronic accessories, has now filled out, by way of successive jaunts through grounds formerly uncultivated, into a rather strapping figure.

Although ambient cloud cover and digital debris pelt this endeavor, the roots of Saso remain firmly implanted. Loosely grasped guitar picks barely hurdle over the strings, words occasionally struggle through the natural adhesion of lips and saliva, melodies coalesce for a moment before dissipating into the charged silence. Seeds of late night languor and enervation are planted throughout the soil of I Can Do Nice.

From this soil sprouts stately guitar arpeggios and hesitant piano refrains that occasionally meet billowing dark ambient winds and shrivel up like a flower of the desert that senses a monsoon coming from afar. "Green Trees", populated by slow serrated drones and the broken code of tiny machines, is one such example, where notes drop as through from faucets plumbed to the brain of Jim Lawler before dissolving into a lovely denouement of electronics. Cold, extended tones provided by The Sullivan Barge Ensemble make up "Trapped In Ice," raising a snowy ambient powder only cut through by a bleak requiem of piano and strings that reminds of Richter's latest effort, The Blue Notebooks. For all this, I Can Do Nice is not without its more upbeat numbers. "Type A Jitters" is fittingly jittery, as a comparatively bouncy glitch-pop thump joins hands with a lively strumming of guitar, whose boisterous mood grows dimmer for but a moment before being resurrected in a nervous thrashing of electric guitar.

In between these dense pieces lay brief instrumental passages. Although such passages may be used as a means for transition, they remain important in and of themselves. Of the lot, "Soft Focus" is quite notable. Here, electronics seem a seething swamp of glue, grit, grain and grunge, oozing out in all directions with discreet pulsing ostinati illuminated by garish and twittering sonic flares.

Others, such as "System Error," with its languid, claustrophobic drone and sustained clusters, to which dissonances are gradually added and subtracted, might have been developed further, but even so, never is the contemplative mood broken.

With all this maturity, Lawler may have found a certain trust in his voice, for his fractured falsetto appears on a more frequent basis. Perhaps the artwork best implies the themes being touched upon by Lawler's lyrics: outstretched fields upon which a white fog merges the sky to the ground below and exposes isolated patches of trees enclosed in shadow. Lawler, as on the charming "Pass It By," relates concerns often by way of question and though his words aren't quite poetic, they capture a disposition befitting of such atmospheres. And so, Saso parts ways with chugging looped guitar set against dark pulses and piano sailing out on slow waves of single notes towards an ever-retreating horizon. Stately and honestly affecting, Saso is an endearing sight to behold.

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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