New Asian Cinema was the first of three one-sided 12" records by the Mountain Goats on Olympia, WA's Yo Yo label. The B-side of the record includes etchings by Nikki McClure. On "Cao Dai Blowout," John Darnielle's high-pitched crooning playfully dances over a folky guitar strum and keyboard. "Narakaloka" begins with the tape hiss that accompanies many of the Mountain Goats' recordings. What follows is possibly the most powerful song on the album, with Darnielle's voice calmed down from its often frantic pace. The instrumentation is minimal, consisting only of acoustic guitar. On "Golden Jackal Song," his voice starts off in talking mode, creating a calm and collected mood. The song has a storytelling aura to it, like many Mountain Goats tracks. The album closes with "Treetop Song," a soliloquy about travel backed by a modest arrangement. The song is made livelier by Darnielle's harmonica. By the time of this recording, Darnielle had become the mainstay of the Mountain Goats, with the absence of the Bright Mountain Choir's collection of vocalists, who appeared on the band's earlier recordings. Lalitree Darnielle adds banjo on some tracks. The artwork on the album is bare bones, as is much of the music. The album was produced by Pat Maley and Brooks Martin. This album was followed by the second of the trilogy of albums on Yo Yo, Isopanisad Radio Hour, in 2001.
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