Soul Whirling Somewhere

Please Sennd Help

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Michael Plaster's work in Soul Whirling Somewhere had, over time, seen him grow ever more detailed in his emotional obsessions on the one hand, and all the more beautifully deliberate with his music on the other. Please Sennd Help -- and yes, the spelling is intentional -- further developed all these trends, with long songs, a relentless (often internal) thematic focus on emotional closeness and a buildup to a rough conclusion. Opening track "The Wedding," an instrumental, sets the sense of extremity in a careful way -- the music is either completely enrapturing or utterly desolate (if not both), piano leading the way into a slow, melancholy progression, as if said wedding were filmed in sepia-tone at half-speed. The murky industrial/dance pulse that helps conclude "Box" and the shift to a more upbeat (of sorts) arrangement on "In On" demonstrates Plaster's fondness for breaking his songs into two halves, different but complementary. Plaster's singing is as ever a calm, gentle semi-whisper, considered but intense in a subtle way -- contradictory perhaps, but it again describes the balance of extremes in the music as a whole. Hearing him say the titular name of "Nani" or stretching out the line "I'm glad we met" on "Box" is evidence of how he can use even a slight change in volume to sudden advantage. One of his best song titles surfaces here -- "You Stutter When You Sleep." The album ends on a truly bleak note with "I Give Up. Goodbye," though as always it's the separation between two elements -- the sorrow in the words and the almost aspirational quality to the music, suddenly turning almost bright and even starting to rock out a bit -- which is particularly noteworthy. Even the cover art demonstrates the two sides at work -- a picture of a large flower, but with a sharp fish hook catching a petal in one corner.

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