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Very Stereo

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Album Review

The debut album by Matt McCormick instantly makes a lot more sense when the listener learns that the Portland, OR-based artist is an experimental filmmaker in his day job. (He's also made a few music videos, like the amusing parody of The A-Team for "The Past and Pending" by his fellow New Mexico-to-Oregon expatriates the Shins.) These nine electronic instrumentals, ranging in length from just over three minutes to nearly 15, are simply constructed out of long-held notes, hypnotically unchanging rhythm patterns, and occasional snatches of simple, almost offhand melody. So fundamentally, it isn't that different from seemingly dozens of other exercises in minimalist electronica stretching back to Brian Eno's Discreet Music, but the difference with Very Stereo is how McCormick is able to turn such familiar elements into songs that are, for lack of a better term, cinematic: he infuses emotion into these songs so subtly and effectively that the album's centerpiece, "Blue Remains Grey," sounds almost a bit obvious and manipulative in its inclusion of a halting, ambivalent voice mail message, the album's only vocal element. Not for the art-averse, Very Stereo is a surprisingly effective experiment in minimalist indie electronica.

Very Stereo, Matt McCormick
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