Cornstar: Lulla
Visceral Media

Lulla apparently arrives ten years after the first collaborative effort (With For Intoned) by Cornstar duo John Latartara and Khristian Weeks. Why it took so long is anyone's guess but it's ultimately a moot point. Taken on its own terms, Lulla is a satisfying enough mini-album (thirty-five minutes in total) whose eight electroacoustic settings opt for glitch-laden, folk-inflected placidity more than anything else. The material came to fruition via long-distance file-sharing, with Weeks creating all of the original raw audio files and Latartara then editing and arranging the pieces into their final form.

In essence, the tracks form restless, computer-generated whirlpools of fragmented guitar and piano sounds. The opener “Elling” offers a meditative four minutes of what sounds like music boxes and organs singing in joyous harmony, with the material's fluttering clicks and trills suggestive of Oval in a peaceful mood. Much of the album, in fact, is reminiscent of Oval in general style but with much of the abrasiveness removed. The jagged guitar shards of “Refrained” stutter as relentlessly as any Oval track ever did, while “Flutter” and “Dream Seeds” are radically besieged and broken-up by computer processing. Even if there is a derivative dimension to the album's contents, there's also no denying Lulla's occasional prettiness: its title piece is a pretty reverie of glistening and shimmering sounds, and look beyond the surface manipulations and you'll find a melancholy heart beating at the center of “Stars Eyes Heart.”

December 2009