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Anthony Carew

Introducing: Guerre

By October 18, 2011

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Name: Guerre
From: Sydney, Australia
Story: Canadian ex-pat alone, in bedroom, warbling
Sound: Like a fox in the evening

There are scores of ultra-lo-fi-R&B bros trailing in the wake of How to Dress Well, but few are anywhere near as good as Guerre. The Sydney-based crooner started turning out caroling-in-his-bedroom files in 2010, and this year found the release of Darker My Love, the debut Guerre EP.

On it, Laverne Lee —a Canadian ex-pat transplanted to Australia— makes wondrous washes of helium-singing, his voice swimming throughout thick, foggy atmospheres built from layers upon layers. Occasional instruments are sometimes swept up in the mix —there's a one-finger piano motif played throughout "River Hymnal"; "Mazu Heart Sutra" rolls with slowcore guitars— but they're elements in a greater mix.

It's a modern sound: the work of a kid on his computer, authoring "hymnals" in isolation, building up layers without need of a band. But in its reliance on crackly atmospherics and washed-out sounds over precision and clarity, Guerre's jams also sound great when run through digital compression, and their detail-heavy layerings play great on headphones.

Oh, and, in a particularly-2011 touch: you can score almost the whole of Guerre's career for free. Including Darker My Love in its entirety. Including a remix record with fine-young-Australians like Collarbones and Wintercoats doing the re-skewing. Including The Townhouses' remix of a new Guerre jam, "Dream Within the Sun," in which tropicalist ping dazzles and an old sample of Kobe Bryant discussing his game vs. LeBron's is, amazingly, incongruously looped into the mix. It's killer stuff, freely circulating...

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