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merz - No Compass Will Find Home
Balladeering wanderer Conrad Lambert aka Merz returns again with a reinvigorated album, his first in over three years. Yep, it's that same Merz who arrived to serious hype at the turn of the millenium with his eponymous major label debut, only to do a Houdini and reappear on a pair of well received sides for Grönland. The time out seems to have served him well, allowing Merz to collect his thoughts and approach Matthew Herbert for production on 'No Compass Will Find Home', resulting an adrenalised batch of songs inspired by a recent migration to the medieval city of Bern, Switzerland among other, more esoteric and personal concerns. Recording with mister Herbert in a studio in the foothills of the Alps, he's penned ten tracks fusing pop craft with abstract, unique electronic texture in an update of his much loved debut sound, committing lyrics about Aristotelian concepts of human flourishing ('Eudaimonia'), being a flaneur in a new city ('Lauterbrunnen') and existential angst ('Our Airman Lost', and 'The Hunting Owl') against a backdrop melding neatly woven instrumentation - courtesy of Gyda Valtysdóttir (founding member of Icelandic band Múm), London-based guitarist & composer Leo Abrahams and Swiss drummer Julian Sartorius - and plush, bristling electronics. Arguably this album posits him as a sort of modest male counterpart to Björk's epic pop experimentalism, or even, at times, a sort of adjunct to Animal Collective's psychedelic pops, albeit with his tenderest sensitivities taking prominence over all else.