Lisa Germano: Magic Neighbor (Young God Records)

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Lisa Germano: Snow
Lisa Germano: Magic Neighbor (Young God Records)

Given that the cover art here is by Auckland's West Coast artist Dean Buchanan, we might guess that singer/violinist/composer Germano encountered his work when she was in New Zealand in April 2001 for Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide project.

Certainly Buchanan's dark and mysterious work is appropriate here because Germano's music is much the same: there is a surface loveliness hinted at but then odd, atonal undercurrents or slightly disconcerting sounds creep through. Shadows at noon and night.

When she sings "it's a beautiful day" you can't really be convinced -- and that makes for an album of great emotional depth where unusual orchestration and effects are peppered throughout, and her lyrics offer mulitiple interpretations. 

It is hypnotic in its overall sense of quiet, but her attention to detail and ability to suddenly throw a melodic curve (which never entirely puts you off) is unique.

Suli-Mon is just plain strange with weird voices and effects behind the almost childlike melody and delivery. Snow which follows is just plain beautiful. The mysterious Painting the Doors was written with Elsewhere/Eno favourite Harold Budd.

Germano has had a rough ride in the music game (she gave up for a while) and as you might expect from someone who had an album entitled Lullaby for Liquid Pig she is always going to present something . . . different.

This is certainly that, but not in a bad way. Magnetic. 

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