Movies Is Magic

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Following the elaborate sonic tribute that was the Dedications album, Klimek's return to a full-length effort with Movies Is Magic found the Berlin-based Sebastian Meissner creating perhaps his more elaborate, entrancing release to that point in his career. Beginning with the appropriately titled "Abyss of Anxiety (Unfolding the Magic)," with a looped combination of distorted string samples that sound like they're unraveling over a bottomless pit, Klimek finds a key inspiration in not merely the combination of sonic sources but the way they seem to bleed into each other. The sense of crumbling edges persists throughout Movies Is Magic, a sense of a decaying tape soundtrack with calmer tones and rhythms as a subtle bed, where often the impact is of stark moods (the slow brass moans and squeals on "Greed, Mutation, Betrayal"). The variety of styles throughout prompts any number of fascinating comparisons without sounding like knockoffs -- if the military drums on "True Enemies and False Friends" suggests In the Nursery, for instance, it couldn't be confused with a track by that band in turn. Elsewhere, the cleaner stabs of synth on "Exploding Unbearable Desires," seemingly beamed in from a strange art rock record circa 1982, add a further shimmering unreality to the swell then fall of the whooshing tones and echoed melodica -- as if Vangelis had scored a version of Neuromancer instead of Blade Runner. The sense of classic dub echo and crawl -- but not necessarily threat -- crops up as well in songs like "Pathetic and Dangerous," while "For Whom the Bell Tolls" may not be a Metallica cover but is a striking penultimate song for a remarkable album, one of 2009's most unexpectedly adventurous releases.

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