February 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Birds of Passage – This Kindly Slumber

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Birds of Passage
This Kindly Slumber
Denovali
Street: 01.24
Birds of Passage = Lotte Kestner + Jessica Bailiff + Grouper
Alicia Merz’ breathy, porcelain-fragile voice has been slowly crawling its way out of her native New Zealand to accompany some of the most formidable experimental artists of the past few years, such as the Dale Cooper Quartet and Aidan Baker. On her latest album for Denovali, Merz steps in front of the microphone and behind the thousand blinking lights of pedals and sequencers to create an album full of elegiac drones and deconstructed neofolk tunes that form out of the ether like a heavy mist across a bog or clouds quietly forming on the horizon. If you miss the buzzing, guttural growl of an electric guitar gasping for breath under many of Merz’s spectral folk tunes, you will not be able to escape the powerful allure of her voice as it purrs and breathes vowels stretched to their breaking point. These songs will forever haunt me. –Ryan Hall
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