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The Magician's Private Library

The Magician's Private Library

22 Feb 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 May 2010
Format: Audio CD
I find myself wondering what Holly Miranda's album
'The Magician's Private Library' might have been
without the sonic management provided by TV On The
Radio's Dave Sitek behind the studio console.
Stripped of the rich tapestry of sound he weaves
around her I am doubtful whether the songs or the
voice would be able to stand up by themselves.

I am not convinced of Ms Miranda's ability to hold
a tune (I hear your arguments already : Nico,
Diamanda Galas, Siouxsie Sioux among mant other
estimable female artists whose voices challenge as
much as thrill) and the tunes she has brought
into being are both insubstantial and unconvincing.

The dominant ambience of the album is listlessly
nocturnal. (Nite Jewell's recent release 'Good Evening'
is an uncomfortably close cousin). Intrinsically
there's nothing wrong with that of course; it is
entirely right that there should be room in the world
for a little gentleness in music of all kinds.

After a while, however, 'The Magician's Private Library'
began to make me feel quite queasy. This has everything
to do with the hollow dynamic and tonal 'slippage' of
Ms Miranda's vocal delivery.
It really isn't a pleasant experience at all.

Truth-be-told there is not one track that is very much
better or distinctive than any other. 'Joints' is
about as good as it gets but Mr Sitek's dense arrangement,
economically augmented by some splendid brass playing
and chainsaw guitar, is utterly subverted by Ms Miranda's
discordantly tepid twitterings.

Doubtless many of you will be more persuaded by her talent
than I have been able to be. Perhaps I just missed the point.

At Your Own Risk.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I saw this artist mentioned as a 'breaking act'in a newspaper supplement and the description intrigued me..."Imagine Brian Wilson going even further out on a musical limb in the 1960s, making Feist, Cat Power and a mid-1970s Marianne Faithfull sing the results, then being reworked by Radiohead, and you're getting close to the album's deep spookiness and evocative magic." So, being a little gullible, I decided to order a copy.

Well, as you might expect, the album rather disappointed on a first play. I don't think there is much out there, if anything, that could live up to that statement. Second play in and the album started to catch, it is now a real favourite and one of the few from the last couple of years that I play daily(and sometimes more often!).

Many of the songs start quietly with sort of catchy Scandinavian pop sensibility but then build through complex layers of instrumentation and vocalising the melodic themes equally rich and complex as the songs progress. It is the strength of those melodic themes that really lift this album above the norm. The other thing is it really does work as an Album not just a collection of songs.

What does it sound like? I must admit I am at a loss to describe it. Others have suggested Mazzy Star and Cocteau Twins, although she does't sound much like those to me, while I discerned reminders of Prince, Arcade Fire, Chrissy Hynde/Sinead O'Connor(voice, a bit)and even Pink Floyd. All I'll say is if that sounds interesting this may well be for you.

This is a real 'grower' of an album so I suggest you give it some playing time before making up your mind, if you do, I think you'll find this a real winner.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great album. The David Sitek (TV On The Radio boffin) production has generated a lot of discussion; I don't agree that it overwhelms the album, but there is a feel that this is a collaboration between two artists, and the vocals are deliberately submerged into the widescreen mix. And what a collaboration; this is woozy, heady, pitched somewhere between waking and dreaming. It is lush, ethereal, magical indeed. If you like, say, Bat for Lashes, give this a listen. One to take your time over and get lost in
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical... 23 Feb. 2010
By Nse Ette - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Holly Miranda's debut is produced by David Sitek from TV On The Radio. Aptly titled as the music is largely ethereal and other-worldly sounding.

The CD comprises swirling woozy multi-layered sounds with disjointed Jazzy flourishes, case in point the horn-peppered "Joints" (with childlike vocals), or the creepy sleepwalking "Slow burn treason". Still solemn but a bit more upbeat is "Waves" with the heartfelt lines "This needless pain that stains your face / It doesn't need to be".

The lush "Forest green, oh forest green" (with layered harmonies) sounds like something from The Fleet Foxes album. "Sweet dreams" is brightened by darting sunny horns, while the jangly Prog Rock-ish "Sleep on fire" has a gently insistent beat.

My favourite is "No one just is"; hushed vocals against juddering beats and buzzing guitars. It's all magical really...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Really Pleasing Discovery. 21 April 2010
By William J. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I saw this artist mentioned as a 'breaking act'in a newspaper supplement and the description intrigued me..."Imagine Brian Wilson going even further out on a musical limb in the 1960s, making Feist, Cat Power and a mid-1970s Marianne Faithfull sing the results, then being reworked by Radiohead, and you're getting close to the album's deep spookiness and evocative magic." So, being a little gullible, I decided to order a copy.

Well, as you might expect, the album rather disappointed on a first play. I don't think there is much out there, if anything, that could live up to that statement. Second play in and the album started to catch, it is now a real favourite and one of the few from the last couple of years that I play daily(and sometimes more often!).

Many of the songs start quietly with sort of catchy Scandinavian pop sensibility but then build through complex layers of instrumentation and vocalising the melodic themes equally rich and complex as the songs progress. It is the strength of those melodic themes that really lift this album above the norm. The other thing is it really does work as an Album not just a collection of songs.

What does it sound like? I must admit I am at a loss to describe it. Others have suggested Mazzy Star and Cocteau Twins, although she does't sound much like those to me, while I discerned reminders of Prince, Arcade Fire, Chrissy Hynde/Sinead O'Connor(voice, a bit)and even Pink Floyd. All I'll say is if that sounds interesting this may well be for you.

This is a real 'grower' of an album so I suggest you give it some playing time before making up your mind, if you do, I think you'll find this a real winner.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular 1 May 2010
By Lovblad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This again is a complete surprise. Ok there was a lot of hype recently in the press (the NME especially) , the type which actually is more of a warning for some kind of untalented press dearlings. Also she is on XL rec ords which does not seem the most suited to her type of music. I had heard a gret single sometime recently so it was logical to go and purchase the album which is simply splendid. She works in almost at times ambient soundscapes which she combines with a folky sensibility. The album it reminds me most of is the vocal passages from "Another Green World " -era Brain Eno. It also has the hushed sound of that era. It is at times a really strange but also a very strong debut from a female songwriter. Very promising.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Keeper 18 May 2010
By DW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Holly Miranda has created an interesting album. Her light voice is accompanied by an eclectic mix of instruments all expertly arranged and melodic. You won't be bored.

[DW]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic singer/songwriter 29 Mar. 2010
By Kerstyne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl
Holly Miranda sounds like a wonderful mix between Fiest, Cat Power, Joanna Newsom, and Fiona Apple. Her voice is beautiful and somewhat whimsical, and her songs are fantastic. I saw her live in Detroit and the girl is an amazing singer.
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