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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
Rachel's
Systems/Layers
Quarterstick Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
If you were to ask me for a short list of CDs that put me in a wonderful disposition after I listen to them, one place would be set aside for Rachel's Music for Egon Schiele. The music is classically beautiful, stirred by creativity and thoughtfulness, and is as thoroughly inspiring.

The spirit of creation is certifiably contagious, as proven by Systems/Layers. This newest endeavor is a collaboration with New York's SITI Company, whose ensemble-based theatre uses the music of Rachel's in the background of their rehearsals. After they incorporated the song "Lloyd's Register" into an actual working scene, they saw how truly moving the work of Rachel's can be when set to performance. The two groups soon intertwined to fashion poignant movement at every level.

As a result, the music of Rachel's has been carried toward improvisation and the thematic depths of a metropolitan setting. True to the essence of found sounds, the band asked guest artists such as Shannon Wright ("Last Things Last") to record and tribute meaningful urban noise to the texture of their release. These contributions range from wind chimes to ice cream trucks, and are woven expertly throughout for something truly personal and all encompassing.

From top to bottom, Systems/Layers brings warmth to the alienation at times brought on by city life. "Moscow is in the Telephone" begins matters with crying strings and gradual healing. Already, this disc serves as companion on broken, busy nights, and it is a welcome friend. "Water from the Same Source" is as unifying and pure as its title, mingling the rush with a slowed, rural setting of beautiful cello. "Arterial" takes the same format and reverses it, replicating the hectic pace of downtown, but showing the stirring radiance within the bustle. There is never a moment where the audience is left to stand alone, which is the comforting truth best championed by the album.

Favorite tracks will vary from listener to listener, time and mood. Regardless, there will always be something striking to equate with any setting, and the unhurried, peaceful feel that comes from true reflection amid commotion. Underneath layers of viola, clarinet, vocals, and dance, beneath all interpretation and intended scenery, the music is vastly relatable. Systems/Layers is a meditative piece that captivates the human essence in dramatic empathy and a few perfect words.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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