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Album Review

On 5, Town & Country continues with its own beautiful style of acoustic minimalism. Bass clarinet, harmonium, viola, string bass, and cornet are the principle voices, but the way the sounds combine and evolve is the key here. In general, the pieces unfold very slowly, à la Morton Feldman, with an emphasis on the timbre of the instruments and their acoustic interplay. The players and the engineer paid extremely close attention to sonic detail, using the ambience of the room almost as another instrument. Light percussion on some tracks ensures that this is not a purely ambient experience, as does the aggressively strummed (well, for Town & Country anyway) guitar on "Lifetstyled." "Shirtless" features a strong pulse, supplied by harmonium, that brings the sound closer to Steve Reich territory, but that's merely a touchstone; Town & Country has developed a very individual sound. Serene and tranquil, but never uninteresting, 5 is a lovely album.

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