Curb Your Cynicism, Pt. 1

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In which the music editor pithily enthuses about new releases and reissues he thinks will enhance your life and erode your cynicism about the state of music, circa now. This is the first in what I hope will be a daily series. You can't say I don't have grandiose ambitions...

Valet Blood Is Clean (Kranky; release date: April 16, 2007

Valet is Honey Owens of Portland post-rock mavericks Jackie-O Motherfucker. Blood Is Clean, her debut full-length under the Valet moniker, is ghostly dreambient (dreamy ambient, ya dig?) that appears to be channeled from a deep and enigmatic place into which few musicians dare to tap. Owens uses subliminal hand-drum patter; tranced-out, sotto-voce intonations and drifty sighs; guitar strands that recall the brain-teasing microtones heard on Spacemen 3's Dream Weapon; and a grip of FX boxes to generate a panoply of ectoplasmic evocations; call it lullabies for angels bathed in sacrificial blood.

Throughout Blood Is Clean, Owens' gestures are subtle and shrouded in misty mysticism. This is the sort of album you play at 3 a.m. when you're feeling out of sorts and exhausted from the world's bluster and soul-crushing demands. I listen to this disc when I want to get centered and transported to a hazy, subterranean mind state that makes me forget about the bureaucratic nightmare of living in what some people charitably call "civilization."

[Kranky's site and Owens' MySpace have some MP3s you can check out.]


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