Whether working with Olivia Tremor Control or Circulatory System, psychedelic songwriter Will Hart has always embraced a fragmented approach to pop music. His records were often broken up into short chunks of Beatles-inspired melodies, airy chamber pop, and found-sound samples weaving together like tiny patches into a larger audio quilt. Studio albums were often supplemented with companion pieces that strung together audio collages of remixed material, demos, and scraps not used in the proper albums. Appropriately titled third album Mosaics Within Mosaics takes Hart's puzzle-piece collage technique to unseen heights, collecting 31 tracks of home recordings dating as far back as 2002, going deep into the vaults of the band's early days to present a beautifully layered pastiche of constantly changing moods and sounds. In other hands, keeping such a collection even remotely listenable would be a challenge. Hart and friends (who on this album include members of Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, and numerous other Elephant 6 players) manage to deliver these choppy, shifting tunes with a natural flow, even when gears switch instantly from burning mantra-like '60s popsike like "If You Think About It Now" into ambling acoustic numbers like "No Risk." The songs are often bridged by various numbered instrumental pieces, and though these synth experiments and wayside explorations of uncommon instruments are the least vital tracks on the album, their inclusion breaks up what could otherwise be a tiresome barrage of melody. By this album, Hart had been perfecting his brand of strange, wonderful indie rock for over 15 years, producing some extremely noteworthy records in the process. Listening to tunes like the wah-wah-doused "Tiny Planes on Canvas" and the dazzled "Stars and Molecules," it becomes easy to hear Hart's influence on psyched-out melodians like Of Montreal, Animal Collective, and others who followed in the footsteps of Circulatory System. Mosaics Within Mosaics may be the project's most ambitious sonic scrapbook, but its masterful presentation makes its cornucopia of found-sound indie micro-symphonies float by gracefully.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas