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Feb. 15 - 22, 2001

[Music Reviews]

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** Robert Scott


(Thirsty Ear)

There isn't a track on Best known for his work with seminal New Zealand underground bands the Bats and the Clean -- and, most recently, for making jangle-psych with the Magick Heads -- Robert Scott takes an unusual turn on his first solo album, the intimate, cozily recorded The Creeping Unknown.. Rather than sum up two decades of music-making with undiscovered gems, Scott has crafted a thematic sketchbook, a series of environmental portraits in which he explores, through sound and texture, his South Island environs. Thus we have "Creek County," a plucked ditty on the mandolin, and the warped sounds of a mellotron, reminiscent of whale calls, in the haunting "Footbridge." In between these burbling, mostly instrumental tracks, Scott allows a few of the sort of jaunty but slightly melancholy melodies that have earned his reputation: "Fog and Wind," on which he's joined by Clean-mate David Kilgour, and "When Shade Was Made" are both filled in with more traditional guitar and drum arrangements, making them sound more like finished pieces than studies. A languorous and lovingly rendered exercise, The Creeping Unknown should sate Scott's fans until his next full-band outing, but it's not the clearest window into his many talents.

Lydia Vanderloo

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