Muu's Way

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It’s hard to put your finger on music as unconventional as Woom’s. Each song on the duo’s debut sounds as if it was written with one particular instrument in mind, say an acoustic guitar, before that instrument was layered with auxiliary tracks and then erased completely. Lacking any lumbar support or a physical backbone to hold the songs sturdy, the backing, percussive, wood-block clacks, bass snippets, and guitar chunks float around like loose, fractured bones behind the detached girl/guy vocals of Sara Magenheimer and Eben Portnoy. This minimalism makes Muu’s Way a fascinating listen. It's a gentle, sparse, and seemingly pointillistic album, in which negative space is of equal importance to the dotted instrumentation. Fiery Furnaces, Xiu Xiu, and Micachu may come to mind, but like these artists, Woom defies categorization. Even though their sound is lo-fi and organic, much of their music is pieced together by kitchen sink sound effects run through a sampler and set to repeat. Further blurring the line between digital and analog, nature is a theme throughout, with computerized cricket chirps and woodland growls acting as the sole backdrop for Magenheimer’s old-timey a cappella in “Foggy Dew.” Elsewhere, the breathing beats and “Iko Iko” vibe of “The Hunt” makes it seem fitting for jungle exploration. Consequently, on the last song of the album, the empty space closes in, as Magenheimer wonders “is the jungle growing over you?”

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