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The ’90s will be remembered not just for its indie and grunge guitar groups, but also for the contemplative sounds of such bands as Vermont’s Labradford. With E Luxo So, Labradford’s fifth album in seven years, the experimenting trio continues to refine its drone aesthetic. It’s not simply about droning keyboards or repetitive sounds – it’s more about reducing-elevating music to a point where, rather than intrude, it blends into the noise of modern living, so that you’re even more conscious of how disparately connected the world around you is. How often do the sounds of traffic or sirens easily blend into the music spilling out of your stereo? If your collection consists of the Rachels, Bark Psychosis, the new Mogwai record or any music by Tortoise, then it’s often and you know what I mean. These are the voices of the millennium mantra, sans any meditative effort on your part.

Slow builds to drawn-out climaxes, rhythmic variation, the odd emphasis of a resounding piano chord or resonating string instrument, the shifting angles of a three or four-note pattern and unexpected samples like a door closing, E Luxo So weaves a subtle instrumental soundtrack that befits The End of Violence. Fans of Labadford will notice the band’s not really changed this filmic formula since the early days of Prazision. Less edgy, definitely. Emotive, without a doubt. Loosely structured, of course. To the untutored listener, even if it’s not recognizable as the typical verse-chorus-verse structure that numbs radio listeners everywhere, there is a defined progression from intro to middle to finish. Labradford just does it in a coolly convincing way.

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