Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Damon & Naomi Noteworthy Press

From the recent issue of Arthur (Dec 2007), "Bull Tongue" rant-column by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore:

Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang have slowly, steadily, stealthily made themselves into one of the most consistently interesting cultural juggernauts on the contemporary scene. As musicians, their work has been carefully progressing for two decades, and their new album, Within These Walls (20/20/20) is thus far, their masterpiece. Recorded with the help of brilliant electric guitarist Michio Kurihara, and arrangements by Bhob Rainey, Within These Walls has the feel of an early '70s lost-folk classic, although it is only the mood and elements of the vocals that hearken back to that time. The session has a true lightness of spirit that makes the album a blast of pure joy. It's a bravura performance, commended to everyone out there with ears. At the same time, D&N's label, 20/20/20 has been involved in issuing some superb stuff-Kurihara's Sunset Notes album and the first in a series of compilations, called International Sad Hits, which allows Damon to promote the blubbering of underground Sinatras in all known languages. The first volume was massive and we look forward to more. Also, extraordinary is the press the pair run, Exact Change. They have issued some amazing books over the years-check out their backlist for a real kick in the teeth-but none have been thoroughly fascinating as Joseph Cornell's Dreams edited by Catherine Corman. The book draws from the journals of the America's premier surrealist, and they are an exquisite addition to his canon. Naomi's design work on this book (and the new CD, too) is particularly striking. Beautiful evocations of dream time in all its states. Congratulations all around.

Boston Globe Review

You have to hear it to believe it

December 4, 2007

Damon And Naomi

Within These Walls (20/20/20)

Original review

Damon and Naomi have certainly made no secret of their love of Tim Buckley, going so far as to name their 2002 live album "Song to the Siren: Live in San Sebastian" after his most famous song. But "Within These Walls," the duo's seventh album, inches ever closer in the direction of the jazz-folk swell and disconnected slowness of the late troubadour. The opening "Lilac Land" is as cold and watery (and forbidding) as a deep lake, sounding as though the instruments are just out of reach of one another but keep trying to make contact. The horns on "The Well," "On the Aventine" and others, meanwhile, take the crisp cool of 1960s Burt Bacharach and turn it upside down, while guitarist Michio Kurihara offers lyrical leads both fragile ("The Well") and aggressive ("Stars Never Fade"). But even though there's a soothing calmness to the sounds themselves, it's hard not to feel that with the exception of "Cruel Queen," the songs hit their marks and simply stay there. On "Within These Walls," what you hear seems to be all there is. [Marc Hirsh]

ESSENTIAL "Cruel Queen"

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