Greg Davis

Mort aux Vaches

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Greg Davis' music builds bridges between the naïve melodies of neo-folk and the tiny noise events of minimal techno or clicks + cuts. On paper, the blend of instruments like acoustic guitar, accordion, and temple bowls with noise electronics and Max/MSP software conjures up Fennesz' music, but in fact, Davis stands closer to the American avant-folk underground (artists like Matt Valentine and the Sunburned Hand of the Man) than electronic experimentalists. The sense of peace and serenity ("Serein," one of the highlights of the disc, is French for "serene") dominating this album is something rare and cherishable. Following the Mort aux Vaches series' modus operandi, this album comes peculiarly packaged (a three-panel "case" made of wrapping paper, the kind that holds high-end chocolate) and consists of a live set. Davis is at the computer, alternating between improvisations (the "Field" tracks) and remixed tunes from his back catalog. The improvisations work as intro, outro, and segues, providing a continuous journey through the artist's soundworld. With its whiny accordion and delicate acoustic guitar motif, "Cumulus" (first released on Davis' full-length debut Arbor) represents the highlight of the calmer portion of the set. At the other end of the spectrum is "An Alternate View of a Thicket," with thicker layers of digital noise leading into a sine wave and loose string interlude ("Field 6"). The appearance of the Beach Boys' "At My Window" surprises, not for the tune itself, certainly attuned to the gentleness of this set, but for the presence of vocals. Davis' music doesn't hit you in the face, it insinuates itself. You become aware of its magnetism only once you realize how often you come back to it.

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