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Album Review

Like their musical cohorts Godspeed You Black Emperor! and A Silver Mt. Zion, Canada's Hangedup features slow builds toward somewhat expected musical outbursts but, unlike said peers, the road to this group's climaxes is formed by more disjointed and unexpected styles. The group is a two-piece that creates surprisingly full-sounding music yet features only percussion and a powerful viola. It sounds like it could be a bit much to handle, but the minimalist approach peaks in some mind-bending crescendos, and the overly talented Gen Heistek has the ability to wrangle both quietly haunting tones and screaming squeals from her viola. Drummer and percussionist Eric Craven makes equal contributions, pulling in sounds from all over and giving them a charming, handmade feel. He occasionally drifts into more percussive pieces reminiscent of very early Euphone but, when teamed up with the unpredictable string accompaniments, his playing is full of its own stunning originality. Done on a simple eight-track reel-to-reel, the recording is a tremendous element of the album, giving it a noticeable amount of hiss and background noise that actually enforces the record's bigger moments. It is a bit mechanical at points, but this record is still packed with highlights, and in its hectic beauty ends up resulting in fairly original and impressive avant-garde instrumental record. ~ Peter J. D'Angelo, Rovi

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