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Boomkat Product Review:
Kranky are having a good year so far - what with Stars of the Lid and Deerhunter, and we're only into April! This debut album from Valet (aka Portland-based lady Honey Owens) continues this trend nicely and is another stunning addition to the catalogue. Apparently 'Blood is Clean' slipped out as a very limited cdr last year, but since most of us missed it (me included) it's jolly nice of Kranky to rebag it and sell it to us, the avid listeners. Miss Owens appears to inhabit a similar corner of the burgeoning avant-garde scene as her fellow Portland experimentalist Liz Harris (aka Grouper), but where Harris entombs her vocal-based compositions in muddy, clay smeared noise and tape saturation, Owens lifts hers with tribal drums and unusual instrumentation. Similar to the Lichens album also released this week, this feels like a deeply spiritual record, a record where the musician has truly engaged with the music she is making with a far from cynical attitude. This is like world music filtered through a shortwave radio or Sonic Youth records being played at half speed, possibly both at once - and it is a truly psychedelic experience. You could easily level that there's a lot of psych-vocal stuff around at the moment and that is indeed true - Islaja, Fursaxa, Grouper, Lichens to name the best, but Honey Owens adds something distinct and original into the mix and has come up with a record that is a testament to her skewed vision. Deep and mysterious like an old junk shop (complete with smouldering incense stick and steaming teapot) this is something that will stay with you for many months and years to come. mesmerizing, and highly recommended.