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Album Review

Youngs, Richard – “Naive Shaman, The ” – [Jagjaguwar]

Thurston Hunger   2/22/2007   12-inch, A Library

Ah, so *this* is the album that Brian Eno wanted to make. Electronic
bubble baths serve as just the medium to allow the vocals to float on
top of, more than guide any melody. Youngs singing is *really* good,
effortless and artful…his tone is welcoming, but with a little
quizzical air that often lifts each line up into the ether. When he
multitracks his voice, the effect is not additive but exponential.
“Sonar in My Soul” has that feeling of flying over waves of sound/water
kind of like Arthur Russell’s tremendous “The Platform on the Ocean.”
The bassline on that and on “Once It Was Autumn” show how less can
be more, little two note concoctions that open up the parallel
world of trance and kraut rock as good as anything. “Summer’s Edge
II” again features a fertile electric garden seething with quiet
life, while Youngs’ voice slow shines over it all. His brogue has
a different po’er than the recent Alasdair Roberts’ release, but
I think it works in a similar fashion. An eerie relaxation maybe,
on “The Amber Gatherers” Roberts pitted his voice agin words,
where he I feel that it’s the contrast of Youngs’ voice set agin
keyboard disorder and general chaotic shimmer. Meditate upon this.
I dig the clash of the title too well. Enlightening/enlightened.

-Thurston Hunger

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