Monday, June 22, 2009

Baja - Aether Obelisk

Not the splashdown into pop waters of, say, a Caribou, Daniel Vujanic is nonetheless dipping his toes in the pool with a few more lyrics on this fourth release. Baja signals the continued cross wiring with an introductory cough and wolf slide on the acoustic guitar that’s pierced by a sine tone on "9 seconds." From there on vibraphones and 70s flutes rub against cut-up drum patterns and vocal edits. Vujanic neatly interchanges noise and melody roles, creating competition and dissonance that evolves into harmony. For example "Graph-viak" unexpectedly flips from post-Drum n Bass froth to oddly 80ish pop song without breaking rhythm. Last year’s Wolfhour had a similarly broad palette of sounds, though this year’s model works it’s transitions and shifts with greater subtlety. “The Story of Fissa Maines” starts as a taped monologue unspooled from a noisy source and segues into a venue-changing woodwind cue that itself merges with an electronic pulse and piano figure as “Prism Break” starts. It's an album of (lovely) surprises that never lags or lulls.

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