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LITERATURE

 » 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
Elizabeth Anka Vajagic
Nostalgia/Pain
Constellation Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


July 6, 2005
Mascara, smeared by pellets of rain, is sardonic war paint atop the taut, youthful skin of a girl who scampers into a venerable, old Gothic Church. Inside, her ear is quickly caught by the timid murmur of people in prayer - the smell of wet wood and clamor of bent floorboards push against the bustling squeal of a rusted, rain-beaten generator perched outdoors. Shrouded in laconic light, the girl's rubber boots leave small puddles of water trailing behind her, until a woman from the upper levels rises swiftly and begins to chant with enervation. The woman's voice, once clean and soft, is clipped by an unseen force and takes on the hues of a shivering river nymph; she begins to bellow as if beside herself, and prayers grow still like a sea settling at night. Praying people scuttle like mice through a hole in the wall.

Such is the way I see Elizabeth Anka Vajagic's EP effort: unpredictable chord changes snake through a broad expanse of grey quiet, and counterintuitive modal flourishes stiffen in resistance. A dim, damp aura pervades throughout, as this jumble of babbling, abrasive percussion and grainy organ forms a torrid march around Vajagic's deep banshee wails, which are pock-marked by a sense of anguish, even mania. Her voice is most affecting; it can be difficult to stare at for long. It's like enduring the distressed mewing of a cat up a tree and feeling helpless to assist. Denuded of reason, every quiver, change in pitch or clearing of the throat is exposed and altogether vulnerable. It is interesting to hear such a delicate, defenseless voice placed beside sharp, frenzied slashing of fretless, quarter-tone guitars and delirious drums. Each sound is punctuated by fire-breathing string-instruments, lubricating the liquid flow of electric guitars and piquing the spirit.

At this point, one might align this effort to those of Charalambides; though it seems overly simplified, "Pain" is a succinct summation of the second track's contents. More specifically, bass notes are imbued with long-seasoned woody tones and bubble under the seismic wobble of translucent organ drones; acid hues eat away at the whole mass until its sounds less like a song and more like an object that's been distressed, dissolved and dismembered.

These finely judged improvised statements afford Vajagic's full-throated virtuosity more space and sketch clearer forms - altogether more lucid, and even rational, in their expression of disarray. The exploration of sustained tone causes pronounced beating, and the lack of discernible harmony gives an open rhythmic feel to the proceedings. Unapologetically awkward, Vajagic's work rips the most nightmarish elements from the depths of the id and splatters them across a disjointed sound field.

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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