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Album Review

On Henrik Jonsson's third album under the bemusing Porn Sword Tobacco moniker, he continues exploring a combination of what has now become by default "classic" ambient in a late-'70s sense and a more blasted and unsettled electronic field thanks to the continuing impact of '90s experimentation. Songs on New Exclusive Olympic Heights range from lengthier, beat-centered pieces like "Giftwrap Yourself, Slowly" to quick fragments that often sound like they're fraying at the edges, as with "Den Rosa Sporten," or else are beamed in from somewhere else entirely, thus the symphonic string swell of "Hierarkisk Symmetri Och Romantik." Sometimes songs make it perfectly clear what they are inspired by — the solo piano contemplation of "En Hyllning Till Cyckeln" is Harold Budd in all but name, and very skillfully done at that. More playful moments similarly split the sense of influences from past and nearer to the present — "Ljus, Den Yttersta Gavan" or "Pappa! Min Karlek Ar Gravid" could either be a random bit from a '70s science documentary for kids or a Boards of Canada song seeking to capture the same atmosphere. "Copyright the Universe" is another standout, a moody low drone of a piece with piano echoing away softly into the mix, while the concluding "Vingar Av Svard" ends the album on a gently aspirational note, the combination of piano and electronics here suggesting reflective peace. The oddest song in context is "My Lovely Wife Becky," which consists of nothing but a seemingly random sample of someone who is a combination of standup comedian and art auctioneer.

New Exclusive Olympic Heights, Porn Sword Tobacco
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