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Mira Calix Eyes Set Against the Sun

Chantal Passamonte's "Nunu" was an edit of a commission from Geneva's Museum d'Histoire Naturelle to create music from the sounds of insects; on Skimskitta, her second album as Mira Calix, she sampled stones from North American national parks for their sonic qualities. Eyes Set Against the Sun sustains this interest in natural phenomena, drawing on recordings of snow melting, "the weather," birdsong, and the sound of decaying wood (via an uncared-for bamboo xylophone that was crumbling as it was played). Intriguingly, though these field recordings are treated and processed, they remain at least partially recognizable, becoming quite specific emotional triggers in an album that is by turns euphoric and gut-wrenchingly somber. On opener "Because to Why," Passamonte uses a children's choir alongside her own nursery rhyme-like enunciation to disorient listeners; the track is one of several that stands at a midpoint between charming and creepy.

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