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MUSKOX - 5 Pieces

Mike Smith's Muskox finally make the leap to full-length (and -sized, as all-out triangle-tesselated packaging deservedly flaunts the fact) status with 5 Pieces, their first for Alex Durlak's Standard Form imprint (also home to Canaille and Feuermusik, among many other interrelated acts) after three consistently impressive 3" CD-Rs self-released over as many years. The ensemble's since likewise grown, now counting cellist Erika Nielsen among its ranks.

Disciplined but lyrical and delicately driving, Smith and company continue to temper tricky rhythms and time changes with lithe melodic lines that brainily intertwine, often returning to state the head motif after an adventurous, involved digression. A truly progressive crossbreed, Muskox straddle genres with the grace of a much less brawny beast.

(Muskox perform at the Music Gallery Thu. Oct 29 with Canaille and Damian Valles. Tickets are $10 at the door, and the show starts at 8:30pm.)

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