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As Good As Gone

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Since Nudge recorded 2005's Cached, the other projects of the band's members have gone on to quite a bit of success: Honey Owens makes gracefully, sensually trippy music as Valet; Paul Dickow's Strategy bridges the gaps between dub, post-rock, and emotive electronics; and Brian Foote has been one of Kranky's resident producers, working with acts like Lotus PlazaLotus Plaza as well as Valet and Strategy. It seems that time off from Nudge did the band good, because As Good as Gone is some of the trio's finest, most confident work. It's also the band's most focused release, even as it incorporates the attention to textural detail of Elaborate Devices for Filtering Crisis and Cached's futuristic dub excursions with elements of Foote, Dickow, and Owens' other projects. While these tracks may not be showy, they are impressive, particularly "Aurolac," an intricate fusion of delicately winding guitars, dubby bass, and a beat that gradually grows more complex and abstract as the song progresses, evolving from electronic percussion to brushed drums. "Harmo" is the musical equivalent of a cloud: soft, airy, and surprisingly massive with layers of thumb piano, breath-like harmonica drones, and Owens' vocals drifting over each other for nearly five minutes. As Good as Gone is also some of Nudge's most expansive work, making it all the easier to get lost in the minute sounds and shifts that pop up in songs like the hypnotic standout "Tito." On this song and "Two Hands," Owens' voice is the guidepost for listeners, adding a more accessible feel even if the songs aren't quite pop. When Foote takes over the vocal duties, his voice is treated as another texture, giving songs like "Burns Blue" (which also features longtime Nudge contributor Mat Morgan on percussion) and the evocative album closer, "Dawn Comes Light," a quasi-instrumental feel. Deeply atmospheric even for a Kranky release, As Good as Gone's subtlety is its strength, and shows how Foote, Dickow, Owens, and company bring out the best in each other.






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