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Album Review

Julian Lynch: “Terra’’

By Carrie Battan
April 26, 2011

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Listening to the eponymous track off his new album, “Terra,’’ you’d be inclined to think that Julian Lynch is trying to incorporate discernible hooks into his dense instrumental collage — the song is fueled by warm, folky guitar lines and a soft Indian-style drum backdrop, and his signature falsetto rings out more prominently than usual. But this is one of the few instances on the album where Lynch’s motley atmospherics are tethered to anything stable. Instead, songs like “Ground,’’ an eerie four-minute drone fit for the closing credits of, say, a PBS documentary on space exploration, and the muted and dreary “On Eastern Time,’’ make the record feel like it might just drift away into nothingness. Lynch, a candidate for a PhD in ethnomusicology, proved on his last full-length, “Mare’’ — released less than a year ago — that his catalog of difficult moving parts is compelling without a whole lot of structural anchors. The hodgepodge of instrumentals and lopsided melodies felt like they were working together toward a weird, wobbly, warm center on “Mare,’’ but on “Terra’’ they ultimately prove more confusing than captivating. (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Terra’’