Amy X. Neuburg

Residue

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Amy X Neuburg's first solo album in 12 years (and five years after Sports! Chips! Booty! by her group Amy X Neuburg & Men) catches her at a creative peak. The exuberant pop side of her albums with the Men has been toned down in favor of a stronger focus on her voice, extensively multi-tracked. If one may miss the cabaret antics of the Men at first, Residue soon turns any feeling of loss into a rediscovery of this singer's amazing voice and seemingly unlimited creativity. The songs on Residue have been conceived for live solo performance. They consist of multiple real-time looping and multi-tracking of voice, keyboard patterns, and electronic percussion rhythms. The writing and delivery still hold ties to the avant cabaret feel of earlier efforts, although this time around Neuburg sticks closer to art song. Laurie Anderson, Anna Homler, and Dagmar Krause often come to mind through the course of this album, but Neuburg weaves her very own world, filled with ironic pop gestures, witty lyrics, and gripping vocal acrobatics. Highlights include the opening "The Tattoo Song," a rich tapestry of vocals consisting of part typical Neuburg avant pop (with a strong Herb Heinz vibe) and part Dies Irae. "Every Little Stain" uses a toothbrush loop for a beat (and it works very well; you might not even notice it). "Life Stepped In" sees Neuburg in a duet with herself over the phone. "My God" combines delicate melodies with harsh passages of a noisy nature. The closing "Residue" is completely a cappella, but the density and cleverness of the vocal loops make it one of the most arranged tracks of the album. Don't mind the absence of the Men; Amy X Neuburg can handle her music on her own. Recommended.

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