Matteah Baim 

Death of the Sun

Every once in a while there's a disc that demands to be taken on its own merits, if for no other reason than there's little to compare it to. Matteah Baim — formerly of the Metallic Falcons — could for convenience's sake be grouped with avant-garde neo-folkies such as Joanna Newsom and Faun Fables. Baim has an ultra-minimalist, low-key, non-traditional take on the folk tradition, so much so that Fables is practically Jewel (remember her?) or Sheryl Crow by comparison. Her approach is colored by aspects of psychedelia (Jefferson Airplane/13th Floor Elevators-style electric guitar of "Far Away Songs") and medieval chant (the eerily plaintive "Seven Stars"). With its martial beat, her version of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" sounds as if Baim were singing it on her way up the gallows' steps. Her supple, measured voice is both soothing and harrowing, conveying a sense of profound longing that I hope I never live to know. Stark and enigmatic, Death of the Sun comes from a place where it's always twilight or midnight.


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