Shirts and Pistols

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At first the point seems to have been to disguise the electronics, creating machines meant to sound like natural instruments -- a string section or a drum kit. What followed was endless justification by fans of pure electronics, trying to convince their detractors that even the most elementary of acoustic instruments were most likely created/processed through electronics on their favorite post-1980 records. At the same time, pure electronics brazenly defied conventions, pushing as far away from natural sound as the human ear could withstand. This is all relevant because with Hardman, and seemingly thousands of other laptop producers to release CDs these days, listeners seem to have finally hit a point where the divide between electronics and "real" instruments has completely deteriorated once and for all, where none other than the ultimate wild blues man, Howlin' Wolf, can be conjured up without the slightest bit of gimmickry or dishonesty. Are those actual guitars? Who cares? So here is a slightly dirty -- yet clean as a silicone chip -- batch of songs (although with an average time under three minutes and many with extended hissing intros, "parts of songs" seems more appropriate) that blend live fl├╝gelhorn ("Kontiki") with hushed yet growly vocals and tattered electronic drumbeats. Although maybe that's where the real humanism is found. When your percussion can sound like anything, it recalls a time before Slingerland, when man would bang his fist, or a stick, on anything that would make a sound. Or maybe we can just convince ourselves of anything.

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