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Axolotl - Memory Theater

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Artist: Axolotl

Album: Memory Theater

Label: Important

Review date: May. 31, 2007

Memory Theater intersperses three Axolotl projects from 2005 and 2006, the Oranur and Object Phantom CDRs and the Chemical Theater 12", but it is deeper than a back-catalogue airing for those who missed Karl Bauer's increasingly appreciated entreaties the first time around. Here, the three different textures have been arranged to form a drama, catholic in its structure and tone.

Stringed instruments have long been used to denote the human voice; Bauer's deconstructed violin playing is expressive and visceral. In the tracks taken from Oranur, he combines violin with humming and plangent howls. These devotionals are girded by pastoral washes that Bauer opens up in the meditative pieces taken from Object Phantom. Processional and recessional pieces from Chemical Theater bracket the service.

The chiming static and swirling dust, jingles and bells of Object Phantom are found in so many recent releases. Axolotl forms them into a landscape for a breathing narrative of sparse details but abundant feeling. It is our primordial, purgatorial, and celestial myths stripped down to keening, universal emotion.

By Josie Clowney

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