Low + Dirty Three, In the Fishtank EP [Konkurrent]
You put your Low in my Dirty Three! Or was it the other way around? Dutch label Konkurrent has developed this nasty habit where they kidnap bands who happen upon their Netherlands neighborhood, throw them in a recording studio, and give them nothing but baked apples, tulips, and two days to make a 35-minute LP. Okay, some of that may be speculation, but you can't argue with the results; so far the "In the Fishtank" series has produced six albums, including an interesting collaboration between Tortoise and the Ex, as well as one of June of 44's best works. In the Fishtank No. 7 might be the finest yet, as everyone's favorite husband-and-wife team from Minnesota, Low, invited Aussies the Dirty Three to join them in a hectic two-day session. Hectic is not a word generally associated with Low, and the results come across as typically saintly, graceful, and patient. "I Hear Goodnight" is spot-on from the opening note, with the D3 violin filling in at just the right moments. If Low is capable of penning anything but a good song, they've yet to show any signs. D3 bowman Warren Ellis gets his mojo workin' on the spacious "Cody," and they even inspire Low's Alan Sparhawk to uncharacteristic heights on the head-scratching, Robert Johnson-by-way-of-Spacemen 3 cut "Lordy." The star of this show is clearly the nine-minute send-up of Neil Young's "Down by the River," complete with rainy-day ambience and nearly inaudible bow work deep in the background that builds up to Mimi Parker's beautiful climax. Somebody call Reese's.
-- Michael Chamy
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