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Labradford | Fixed : : Context (Blast First)
Few records have more apt titles. With unswerving focus Labradford laser in on their assigned task, single-minded, undistracted. Over six albums the Virginian trio have quietly gone about their business of sonic exploration with a lack of attention and fuss that fellow post-rockers Godspeed You Black Emperor!, whose no-publicity stance only raises their profile, would give their body piercings for. Fixed : : Context strips away some of the extraneous bits of recent recordings, paring everything down to a stark purity of sound (doubtless with the encouragement of producer Steve Albini,) although it does witness the return of such superfluities as song titles. Opening track Twenty is actually a misnomer: it clocks in at just over eighteen minutes and in that time sets the tone for the record. After five minutes of ambient bubbling a solitary guitar echoes distantly through the soundscape. Invite your mates - it's party time, Labradford-style. That guitar remains the core of the subsequent three tracks. Up To Prizmo could be the Twin Peaks theme recast by Ennio Morricone. David and Wien are equally languid, dreamy and one-paced.  Several light years removed from the mainstream, Labradford make music almost in a vacuum, severe sounds with a cold, hard-edged beauty.

Mark Walton
June-July 2001

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