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Indie Rock: Jenn Vix, Pulby, Pascals

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JENN VIX: 3 (CDR on Umbrella Music)

This CD from 2003 features 39 minutes of benevolent gothic rock.

Begin with electronic grinding and sinuous E-perc; as things progress, these two aspects commence a transference that banishes any barriers between the aura and the beats. Add a guitar growl that sneers like a lizard hidden in the brush. Enter Vix's voice, rich and sultry with eerie sentiments. Trembling keyboards inject a delicate otherworldliness to this music that somehow grounds everything to familiar substance.

Blending traits of techno with dark wave, Vix produces a sound that achieves quite accessible appeal with its mixture of artificiality and integrally human verve. In fact, the lyrical topics often center on this conjunction of wires and dreams, exploring the interface between technology and mortal existence.

Dreamy melodies are infused with a dark power that promises mysteries more than nightmares. Such gothic sensibilities are tempered with a softness that bestows the freshness of dawn to the tuneage, bringing light to the nocturnal with Vix's uplifting vocal qualities.

A few instrumental pieces (like "Electronic Tribute to Toshiro Mifune") provide a glimpse into even more ethereal territory with their fragile definition of heavenly realms.

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PULBY: Pulby (CDR EP on Dead Digital)This release features 4 tracks, 22 minutes of electrified weirdness.

Track 1: Wavering electronics are accompanied by hard drums and treated vocals that whisper about alienation and displacement. Synthesized horns establish a mournful backdrop for this sluggish dirge, while plucked strings usher the song along to its conclusion.

Track 2: Harsh percussion batters the listener while subtle bongos patter in the distance. Severe electronics surge and recede, creating a wobbling effect for the audience. Vocals exchange remarks with an upfront noise that defies codification.

Track 3: The rhythms become more sedate here, allowing the vibrating wires to capture attention. Basslines and tortured orchestral effects crowd elusive vocals around a busy mix.

Track 4: Whiplash harp flogs hesitant female voices that seem to loop back upon themselves. Horseshoe percussion and rattled wood hangings provide a quirky tempo...while piano sneaks in to inject a touch of melodic quality.

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PASCALS: Abiento (CD on Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier)

This CD from 2002 features 50 minutes of very strange music.

Assemble an assortment of unconventional (as far as rock music is concerned) instruments (mandolin, accordion, flute, ukuele, banjo, kazoo, toy-piano, cello, etc) and get them jamming with more accessible instruments (electric guitar, bass, piano, drums, trumpet, saxophone, violin, etc). Put these instruments in the hands of sixteen Japanese musicians who want to crossbreed various music genres. Apply these strange sentiments and tools to tuneage that defies classification under any one umbrella.

One track is a gypsy wedding polka, another is a dose of Egyptian reggae, another is a carnival lullaby. The styles wander, but the intention rarely strays from violating every convention that pops up. There's even an accordion and trumpet version of Brian Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)".

Unpredictible, but enjoyable if you're looking for surprises.

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