k. / Low, split EP (Tiger Style)
After seeing Ida and Low in concert together I'm convinced that there's a joint masterpiece they could make, and probably eventually will. The first tentative step in that direction is this four-song split EP, two songs each from Low and Ida's Karla Schickele (still trading, as if worried that she might not be obscure enough already, merely as "k."). Karla's songs for Ida are among their most magical, for me, but I haven't quite reconciled myself to the comparatively dark atmosphere of her solo songs, or else maybe she hasn't, either. "Regular Girl" begs, to my ears, for a chorus, and ends up sounding to me like four minutes of what should have been the first minute or two of a song that would then unfold into something brighter and more colorful. She fares a little better, paradoxically, with the Flashpapr cover "Were We to Dance", which with Ida Pearle on violin, Matt Sutton on bass and Matthew Schickele and Francesca Levy on wineglasses, turns into ghost bluegrass, and makes me wonder whether the way for Karla to distinguish her solo work from Ida isn't to make it more complicated, rather than simpler.
The two Low songs are both old ones. "Those Girls" is surprisingly amiable for a 1997 Low song, and you might have been able to convince me that it was a cover of some old synth-pop song I'd forgotten. The more interesting track is the "Time Stereo dub version" of the old single "Venus", which, without Things We Lost in the Fire for reassurance, might make me worry that Low are about to be ill-advisedly side-tracked by samplers.
- glenn mcdonald (this review is copyrighted by him, 2001)