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I'd like to think that everyone has moments of nearsightedness. That eases my chagrin at the knee-jerk wince evinced earlier this year when Crushed Stars were making waves with "99 Red Balloons." The wince was about the original as transmitted by Nena. I didn't bother with the Crushed Stars version until its latest album manifested on my desk, at which point I realized I'd been missing out on yet another Portlander who's making poetry with music. For instance, the CS cover of the balloon song plunders a minor-key dreaminess barely evident in the original.

Since I have a weakness for pretty music that's in no particular hurry (Satie is a god to me), my resonance with Crushed Stars, let alone Tear Ceremony, Todd Gautreau's previous immersion in a more electronic ambience, was a matter of time.

Guitar notes dropping like rain on "Eyeliner" would dance well with the deeply considered plucking of Don Peris. Gautreau's subdued vocals, which evoke a gentler John Cale, peer in and out of this rain. Everything on CIB is similarly lovely, although the run of "Technicolor" from one sheltering doorway to another is slightly more hurried. The minimal keyboards and mellotron-like breaths of the instrumental "Frost on Wires" approach radiance, as does "Ocean."

  • Album: Convalescing in Braille (2010)
  • Artist: Crushed Stars
  • Label: Simulacra
  • Songs: (1) Eyeliner (2) Black Umbrellas (3) Sutures (4) Technicolor (5) Spark (6) A Day without You (7) Frost on Wires (8) (Fall) (9) Beatrice in the Otherworld (10) Ocean
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