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Taylor Deupree/Christopher Willits Mujo Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

A sensual, immersive experience, tickling your neurons with little bursts of sonic...

Peter Marsh 2004

Expectations are usually best when they're undermined or completely thrown out of the window, as was the case when I first slipped this little gem into my CD player. On the basis of my previous experience of Deupree and Willits' solo records, I was expecting the usual guitar/hard disk antics; chords smashed to atoms and then glued back together, glitching their way through elusive snatches of melody. Instead, the opening track had me rushing to the player to check that I hadn't been sent an early 70s Genesis record by mistake; "Seasons Centers Studies"' lush pileups of guitar arpeggios could easily pass for one of the pastoral interludes found on something like Selling England By The Pound.

Now that's not a criticism; it's a beautiful little piece and while not entirely characteristic of the rest of the record (you may or may not be pleased to hear that, depending on your own particular prejudices), it does set the tone for what is an intriguing and lovely album. This is the second collaboration between the two men, sourced from improvisations and then shoved under the studio microscope for examination, dissection and God knows what.

Despite such digital jiggery-pokery, Deupree and Willits don't let their software get the better of them. Like Fennesz or Oren Ambarchi, they seem more interested in results than process. The music whirrs, clangs and hums away to itself, sometimes chipped into tiny fragments, propelled by metronomic, clicking percussives, or it floats away into metallic, chiming reveries. If there was a church on Neptune, it might have bells that sound like this.

As is often the case with this kind of thing, Mujo works either in the background, like a set of futuristic wind chimes, or up close and personal (headphones are good). Here, the music becomes a sensual, immersive experience, tickling your neurons with little bursts of sonic bliss. Fortunately it doesn't last too long either, so your ears don't get tired out. Instead Willits and Deupree's 12 miniatures offer a sweet, quietly emotive soundworld; fans of the aforementioned Fennesz, Ambaarchi and so on will know what to expect, and they won't be disappointed.


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