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Matteah Baim

Death of the Sun

(Stairbuilders; US: 12 Jun 2007; UK: 28 May 2007)

Quiet songs echoing in space

It’s almost a genre these days, the sort of music where delicate feminine voices are pressed right up against the mic, holding their eerie lullabies to a whisper yet oddly dominating the mix. Matteah Baim plies the same sweetly weird territories as Jana Hunter, Rio en Medio and Coco Rosie, murmuring mysterious ephipanies against cloudy masses of reverbed sound. Baim, you might remember, was Sierra Casady’s partner in Metallic Falcons, but here she jettisons that collaboration’s fixation with found sounds and theatrics to focus entirely on melody. Songs like “Wounded Whale”, pit rapturous melancholy against a shimmering bed of piano, subliminal bass and Baim’s soft, otherworldly tones, while the title cut masses church choir harmonies in candy-spun clouds of otherworldly glory. Most striking, though, is what Baim does with the old spiritual “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”, finding transcendence in long, hanging guitar notes and ethereal self-harmonies. Guests like Devendra Banhart, Jana Hunter and Robert Lowe (but probably not that Rob Lowe), flitter in and out of the picture, but it’s Baim’s moment, captured in meltingly soft focus.


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