The Magician's Private Library

Holly Miranda

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The Magician's Private Library Review

by Andrew Leahey

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.

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