Last month, FUR's Witches had the honor of becoming the first release on Sacramento's fledgling indie label Waaga Records, which, if you've been following at home, you'll remember is the new sister/subsidiary label of Lesfe Records and the PR gurus Banter Media (see: Neon Indian). And, yes, Witches deftly includes the standout track "Black Castles," which features a pre-Neon Indian, pre-Brooklyn Alan Palomo collaboration. Denton's Bryce Isbell is the creative force behind the experimental, instrumental, electronic project and sometime DJ known as FUR. And Isbell seems to have retired his freak-folk past after some 50 releases. Perhaps that's for the best because, as heard on Witches, Isbell has an ear for weaving dense layers of electronic and organic sounds to create his songs. But whereas last year's Colorful People (FUR's debut full-length on Pennsylvania's Secret Station Records) was more blatantly future lounge in style, Witches becomes an exercise in electronic genre style-hopping as Isbell creates soundscapes incorporating elements of ambient, ambient techno, downtempo, dubstep, electronica, IDM, library music and hauntology. Does one need to be familiar with any of those genres to enjoy the album? No. Unfamiliarity, after all, breeds excitement. Witches is like cinema for the ears, though; at times it comes across more like an experimental episodic foreign flick than some seamless, feature-length Hollywood experience. For example, the dripping sounds, bubbling gurgles and distorted keys of "Witches" transition into "Friends of Friends" in which police sirens wail over spaced-out warbles and what can only be described as tablas on meth. The sounds swirl and build one moment slowly and the next dizzyingly fast. I highly recommend listening with a good pair of headphones.

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Daniel Rodrigue
Contact: Daniel Rodrigue