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Dreaming Machines

The Dreaming Machines' debut is a compilation of live tunes that displays the vast scope of Kurt Bauer and Arnie Swenson. It starts off with a few somewhat tame guitar/banjo duos, but as the album progresses, the two dig into various worldly excursions using instruments like the Vietnamese dan tinh, a tongue drum, a three-string African harp, a two-string Indonesian fiddle and a Japanese shakuhachi flute. Playing these ethnic instruments with no regard for traditional tunings, the pair uses bones and mixing and prayer bowls for percussion, yet there isn't much straight-tempo timekeeping. While some of the songs feel like drone-based stream-of-consciousness meanderings, Bauer and Swenson also deconstructed "Amazing Grace" with harp, marbles and metal kitchen shelving, turning in one of the creepiest renditions ever. Gentle insanity, indeed.


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