Jad Fair has often said he never tunes his guitar, as he feels it takes away from the immediacy of his music. Sometimes the rough textures of Fair's work suggest that musical instruments just get in his way as he sends his muse on its merry way, and he's largely dispensed with them altogether on 2011's His Name Itself Is Music. Most of the accompaniment on His Name Itself Is Music comes from Fair's mouth, as he sings and recites his lyrics over a bed of vocal noises and falsetto scat singing, seasoned by occasional bursts of electronic percussion and very rare slivers of sound from the aforementioned guitar. This music presents Jad Fair's musical world-view in a very pure form, and while his music has always been somewhat polarizing, His Name Itself Is Music is an album that truly draws a line in the sand -- you'll either be charmed and delighted by Fair's playful stories and guttural howls and shrieks or you'll struggle to make it to the end of the disc. Even having a working knowledge and fondness of Fair's body of work is no guarantee that this will click for you -- while Fair's best songs have engaging little melodies to go along with his lyrical obsessions, His Name Itself Is Music doesn't sound especially musical much of the time, as these tracks resemble a guy with some sort of respiratory condition rather than anything you could whistle along with. His Name Itself Is Music doesn't stray far from the sweet insanity that's always been the hallmark of Jad Fair's music, but this time there's nothing to buffer the hard edges of his sonic journal entries, and without the guitars and drums a little of this goes a long way.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming