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Valet - Naked Acid (2008)

Po króciutkiej przerwie znowu wracam z kolejną perełeczką z gatunku psychedelic. I jak to znowu w przypadku małoznanych nowości bywa - niewiele wiem o tym projekcie - Valet. Wiem natomiast, że jest to kawał wspaniełej muzyki i tripowych dźwięków. Angielskojęzyczni czytelnicy będą mogli sobie poczytać trochę na ten tema poniżej.

Honey Owens' sophomore effort for Kranky encapsulates a mystical space with both moments of direct songwriting and more spaced out passages of psychedelia. The album's artwork suits it's contents: a giant siamese cat swims in moonlight bathed waters that are simultaneously issuing forth from and retreating into some sort of God-head before the stars and a plateau ablaze.

Naked Acid opens with a tumble of toms, bells, and wooden chimes but soon appears Owens' guitar and more importantly her voice, mirrored by Adrian Orange who duets with her on "We Went There." The ghostly vocal companions are countered with effected guitar squeals that cut through the ambience, glistening. By the track's end, these elements dissolve into an airy breath-like drone. This accompanies the momentum of the more straight-forward sections of the music, which are paced much like deep, hearty breath-cycles. While the record does feature a fair share of dronescapes, they are intoxicating and hallucinatory without being overwhelming or dull. There is an intense air of mystery evoked in these passages, but Owens succeeds in making them unpretentious and welcoming.

While her guitar may be the most prevalent on the album, Owens' voice is truly the stand-out instrument on Naked Acid as it is both styled and implemented in numerous ways. On "Kehaar" she moves from sounding like a pair of chanting apparitions to a siren singing to the sea and back again. In the tracks "Drum Movie" and "Babylon 4 Eva" her voice only surfaces at select points, bubbling out of the mix to provide a new and vital texture. Then there is "Fire," where Honey is at her most bluesy; only she and her slowly bouncing guitar are featured. Much of Naked Acid can feel directed at distant topics, and "Fire" is a much needed relief from this, bringing the listener and artist face to face. This contrast, tested on the previous Valet record, is certainly perfected here.

My only issue on Naked Acid may be with its closer, "Steets," which features processed drums, and a much more synthetic sound to it than the rest of the album. While at first it feels out of place, on repeated listens it serves, with its brightness, as a sort of cleansing of the murky waters that are the previous songs. While the pace of the songs on Naked Acid are breath-like, the structure of the album as a whole, too, can be understood as one large breath with this "cleansing" song as its culminating point of exhalation.

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