Kahimi Karie

Journey to the Center of Me

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One month after releasing one of her most interesting EPs, Once Upon a Time, Kahimi Karie followed it up with one of her worst, the misguided Journey to the Center of Me. More a footnote to writer/producer Momus' interest in "analogue Baroque" that would result in his Stars Forever than a real Karie album, the mini-album has indulgence all over it. Momus was once one of Karie's finest champions, fashioning her songs that played with her personality, while never forgetting it had to get toes tapping. Where once Karie sang lines like "put some make-up on your face/make this world a better place," written and sung with all layers of irony intact, here she sings things like "I see masturbating monks on 42 Street/rats carry the plague to Chinatown" with all the conviction and understanding of a schoolgirl reading out of a textbook. Not surprisingly, Momus' demo versions of these songs, available elsewhere, with him singing, are revelations. Momus' arrangements of medieval instruments are the best things on the album, but mixed too low. To top it all, "Pygmalism" is quite one of the worst things Karie's ever done, singing so far above her range that perhaps only dogs will appreciate her vocals -- that, coupled with some seriously distorted and out-of-tune synthesizers, ensure it's all but unlistenable. A big, big shame.

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