Luminous Love in 23

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Singer, poet, and professional photographer Nanaco paints with gloriously expressive musical flourishes on Luminus Love in 23. Nanaco's voice is that of a fractured art angel as she takes a perfect stance amidst Bj├Ârk-like postmodern experimentation, Heather Nova-like self-expression, and Kitty Craft's beat trickery over beautiful layers of guitars, pianos, and samples, courtesy of producer Simon Raymonde. On her website, Nanaco relates that she was an Olympic-level gymnast for 13 years during her childhood until a tragic fall from the uneven bars, at which point she became a "lost memory girl." Since English is her second language, Nanaco is able to get away with lyrics that might seem ridiculous from English vocalists. Lines like "I am just a cat and a poet/Silently I sing always" come across like brittle poetry. Though things infrequently take a turn toward a kind of '60s psychedelia that seems to be at odds with the modern themes and instrumentation, Raymonde and Nanaco maintain a winning focus on esoteric moods and shimmering, organic vibes. Nanaco is as successful with her My Bloody Valentine-style dreamy vocals on "A New Year's Eve 1998" as she is holding sustained, touching notes on "Cocoon." Mixing jagged pop, artful beats, moody atmospheres, poetic grace, and innocent seductive grooves, Nanaco crafts a winning debut with Luminus Love in 23.

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