David Pajo is a perfect example of the spiderweb-like lineage present in Louisville's and Chicago's new rock scenes. A founding member of legendary Louisville noise-instrumentalists, Slint, and main contributor to Tortoise's last two albums, Pajo has quietly collaborated on some of the most affecting music of the decade. Under the moniker Aerial M, Pajo has fashioned here seven beautiful instrumentals that reference but only slightly resemble his earlier work with Slint or Tortoise. Instead, As Performed By..., on which Pajo plays all the instruments, is a study in breathtaking melodies and simple, effective songwriting. "Dazed and Awake" accurately describes the feel of the album's opener, enveloping one's head with bright guitar work and understated dynamics. The six-minute "Aass" leaves behind the bottom-end boom that is Tortoise's trademark, allowing the song to spread through warm and longing double-guitar repetition. "Skrag Theme" would approximate a Slint melody if it were played with the amplifiers on 3, while the loops and effects on "Compassion for M" recall both the experimentation of Tortoise and the textures of Directions in Music. As Performed By... is an unassumingly gorgeous debut worthy of the same level of praise awarded to Pajo's past compositions.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Cohen