Review ·

Carpark's newest is a colorfully packaged culmination of sounds and song pieces that were assembled via the Internet by two electronic experimentalists: Greg Davis in Chicago and Sebastien Roux in Paris. Paquet Surprise, the first collaboration between Davis and Roux, is largely steeped in the duo's theory of allowing for a little more of an ambient setting than organic song-structure arrangements.

The prominence of interspersed outdoor recordings on Paquet mirror what Davis, who's regarded as a pioneer among the laptop-folk set, exhibited on last year's entry on Autres Direction's The Noise & The City compilation: His knack for highlighting sounds that go otherwise unnoticed. "I Am Waiting (For December)" features some airy acoustic-guitar picking and an understated vocal line, but at the center of the piece is the peak of what begins as subtle, static-centered rumbling and eventually gets amplified and cancels out the other elements entirely. When it dissipates, a coda of plinks and flutes brings the storm to a somewhat calm resolution.

The subsequent "Air Castle" borrows this subtle exit idea. With its gorgeous echoing chimes and sparse guitar it's the record's most compelling two-and-a-half minutes. Roux's vocals often (sadly) take a back seat to the record's atmospherics. But when they're double-tracked and present, as in "Daybreak," the lifting harmonies are as nearly as displacing as the emphasis on ambient treatment.

"Good Decision"

Carpark Records Web site

Greg Davis's Autumn Records label

 Download 'The Noise & The City' compilation for free

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