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  • This duo continues to widen its horizons and grow at a healthy rate. Miniatures is their third opus and, while offering new aspects to the ear, remains as intelligent and quirky as their previous two CDs. And there is hardly anything miniaturistic about it. The album is bookended by two extended pieces, "Severe Punishment and Lasting Bliss" (ten minutes) and "Building Instruments" (13 minutes), both featuring guest Nicholas H. Mollerhaug on cello and vocals. The opener has a gritty Fennesz-esque texture and a mean noise guitar over pastoral landscapes, its melodic contents evolving slowly. The closer takes the shape of an acoustic and (seemingly) unprocessed jam session. It is quite a bit amateurish-sounding, but there is also a funny side to it (someone desperately trying to play a trombone or euphonium toward the ten-minute mark, for instance), especially if you factor in the title of the track. Between these two poles seven shorter pieces (between three- and seven-minutes in duration) are sandwiched. Some explore new deconstructivist avenues ("Change Position") reminiscent of the Thomas Stronen/Stale Storlokken CD released by Rune Grammofon a few months before this one, while others combine the childlike approach of Pascal Comelade and experimental electronica humor ("Steady Jogging of the Heart," "The Youth of Mysterious Conversations," "Buffalo Demon"). Alog's unusual instrumentation is again at the heart of their unique sound: vibes, harmonium and various toys join the array of acoustic and electric guitars and electronic treatments. Miniatures may not be as successful as Duck-Rabbit in terms of artistic form and repeated listens, but it remains an honest effort from an ever-puzzling outfit. ~ Fran?ois Couture
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