David Pajo has made great music as a member of Slint and Tortoise, as a contributor to the Palace Brothers and Stereolab, and as a solo artist of many pseudonyms, including Papa M and Ariel M. Pajo isn’t so much another mask as it is a glowing screen: on 1968, as on last year’s self-titled disc, he plays everything straight into his laptop. Conceptually, the direct connection between artist and computer suggests a Thom Yorke future-shock nightmare; in reality, the music on 1968 is as snugly accessible as the field recordings of old folk musicians. In the wintry gloom of “Foolish King” or the Pink Floyd classic-rock phantasm of “Prescription Blues”, it’s also as isolated as Elliott Smith. Still, it’s a splendid isolation. Even when a jauntier track such as “Let It Be Me” broadly and plaintively hints at how nice it is to have company, 1968 belongs to the unsettlingly lucid insomnia of solitude.
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