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Album Review

Pentaphobe is the recording moniker of Keili Olsen, an Australian who produces moody, atmospheric landscapes that often sound like avant-garde soundtracks. In fact, beginning in 2003, his music had been used in performances by such Rachel Brice of the Indigo Belly Dance Company and the Bellydance Superstars. (It is she who graces his album covers.) The most interesting thing about Pentaphobe's often abstract "electronic" music on Sawdust is that he seems to have one foot rooted in the present and another firmly entrenched in the past. As a matter of fact, part of Pentaphobe's vision sounds downright ancient, as in the dark symphonic welling of "Dawn in the City" or the sepia-toned violin cries of "Victim to the Charms of Radio." (Typically, the songs are also littered with spare flurries of patternless, often industrial-sounding beats.) Abstraction is a slippery slope, however, and occasionally, the experiments have a scattershot and amateurish edge to them. But, at other times, the results are sublime and stirringly emotional.

Sawdust, Pentaphobe
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