Monday, November 26, 2007

Music I Liked And Didn't - 11/22/07 - 11/26/07

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THE VALERIE PROJECT: S/T DLP (Drag City) - When I initially heard about this self-titled double LP by the Valerie Project, I must admit that I didn’t intend on purchasing it, as the reissue of the soundtrack to the film “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders” was one of the few releases from B-Music that I didn’t enjoy and didn’t keep. Upon further investigation, however, I learned that this album did not contain a mere modern recreation of that soundtrack, but rather, entirely new music inspired by the soundtrack. In addition, my research revealed that the Valerie Project was comprised of some of the premier practitioners of modern acid folk and psychedelic sounds, including Tara Burke (Fursaxa), Margie Wienk (Fern Knight), and several members of Espers, among others. Then, by amazing coincidence, it turned out that the Valerie Project was actually doing a live performance of this material at a screening of the film (one of the very few times the film has ever been shown in the US!) at the historic and very cool Brookdale Lodge, located deep in mountains near Santa Cruz, CA. So, needless to say, I had to check that out and, not surprisingly, the music was incredible, even if it didn’t always seem to correspond exactly to the action on the screen. So, of course, still in the high of the moment after that positive experience, I bought a copy of album, which was available, well in advance of its actual “street date”, at their merch table.

I’m certainly glad that I did, too, as the 30, mostly instrumental, tracks on this release even surpass, perhaps, the music I witnessed live that night. Rich organ drones, alien synth oscillations, fuzz leads, sweeping strings, delicate harp tones, ethereal vocal choruses and an assortment of percussion (bells, etc.), are all woven together to form a beautiful sonic tapestry, a seamless collage of traditional folk, modern acid folk, psych, and, even, prog sounds. In fact, as glorious as this material sounds rolling out of the grooves, I almost wish I had the CD version of this album just so I could let this lush flow of psychedelia wash over me for 75 minutes uninterrupted. “Tour de force”. “Masterpiece”. One can almost always dismiss such descriptions as merely being the hyperbolic ad copy of overly aggressive record label marketing, with respect to this debut by the Valerie Project, however, the use of such superlatives is both accurate and appropriate.

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Running Count For The Year

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