Created during a month’s worth of late-night recording sessions, The Magician’s Private Library exhibits the sort of atmospheric, 3 a.m. ambience once popularized by the likes of Mazzy Star and Mojave 3. It also marks a return to Holly Miranda’s solo career, a profession she put on hold in 2003 to form the Jealous Girlfriends with producer Alex Lipsen. Another producer -- TV on the Radio co-founder Dave Sitek -- figures prominently on this album, which places as much emphasis on the studio-made sounds coating each song as the actual songwriting itself. Miranda’s songs seem to be written with that intent in mind, though; they’re moody, dark, and sparse, with melodies that give way to long, empty passages. Sitek fills those blank holes with anything he can rustle up -- strings, samples, synthesizers, co-ed harmonies -- while taking care not to overpower his artist’s voice, a gauzy alto that sounds more wounded here than it ever did during the Jealous Girlfriends’ tenure. The results are alternately ghostly, sexy, and nocturnal, but they’re always moving.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey