Strange and Fragmented Music

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This is soundtrack music – Manny & Lo was the feature debut by Lisa Krueger; African Swim is referred to as "a film that no longer exists" – so one expects a certain amount of fragmentation, underdeveloped mood cues, that sort of thing. But with most of the cuts clocking in around the minute mark – there are 25 tracks on this 41-minute disc – it’s like listening to a bunch of teasers, clever little gewgaws that split before they get under way. Too bad, cause Lurie has a knack for getting the most out of antic instrumentation, deftly blending bassoon, banjo, viola and harmonica into his little sketches – though not all at once, of course.

Some of Swim sounds suitably African, swaying gently like a Sunny Ade session, but there’s also chamberish miniatures and a very cool track – "Goodbye To Peach" – featuring Lurie’s patented worry-a-phrase soprano sax playing. The Manny stuff is even less cohesive – typically a lilting marimba feature leads into a punk rock song, which in turn leads into a gauzy guitar duet, all in just over two minutes. In sum, it’s more interesting than not – Lurie is always more interesting than not – but very, very thin.

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