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Damien Jurado: Postcards And Audio Letters


Damien Jurado

Album: Postcards And Audio Letters
Label: TNI/Made In Mexico

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Over the course of two albums, Waters Ave. S. and last year's remarkable Rehearsals For Departure, Seattle singer-songwriter Damien Jurado has demonstrated a mastery of intimate music informed by fearless sincerity. Jurado's fans may want to hesitate before seeking out his new Postcards And Audio Letters—after all, his voice and music are nowhere to be found on the record—but in many ways, it's a logical extension of what he does best. Compiled and edited from an assortment of old audio tapes Jurado found in thrift stores, the album presents extended fragments of answering-machine messages and recorded correspondence, allowing the listener a voyeuristic look into the lives of strangers. The concept seems crass, but the results can be as sensitive and compelling as Jurado's music. In "Robert 1972," Robert ruminates for 28 minutes in an audio letter to ex-girlfriend Angel, slowly and from a distance revealing more about how they met, what he does, whom she's married, what's become of the marriage, and so on. In "Angel 1972," she responds, her detachment and discomfort speaking volumes. In the aptly named "Our Kid Is Getting Hurt," Jim and Sharon fight bitterly over the custody and condition of their son. In "Waking Dawn," a nervous Phil calls a sleeping Dawn to profess his love for her, their conversation inadvertently recorded by her answering machine after she picks up. An intense and unnerving collection, Postcards And Audio Letters is an essential companion to Jurado's music, as if he'd been making a soundtrack to this documentary all along.