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Tiger, My Friend

Wednesday, Nov 3 2004
The problem with a lot of electronic music is that it either takes itself too seriously or not seriously enough. Psapp offers the perfect solution (if also a less than perfect name): Do both. On the duo's debut CD, German producer Carim Clasmann sprinkles knickknacky sound effects, plucky violin, and whizzing bleeps over warm, elastic beats, for a euphoric sound that's like a toy closet come to life. At the same time, British chanteuse Galia Durant sings of heartbreak and disappointment with a drowsy, detached resignation. In "Curuncula" she purrs, "We have only ourselves to blame" over and over, as if trying to convince herself; in "Leaving in Coffins" she murmurs, "You go, go, and you don't come back" with heavy-hearted compliance. Such lyrics, if set within the usual trip-hop soundscapes, could sound maudlin or pretentious, but wrapped in Clasmann's whimsical music, they're soulful and bittersweet. Like a giddier Múm, a warmer Ms. John Soda, a twee-er Portishead, Psapp makes music for adults -- with a childlike glee.

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Dan Strachota


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