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Jeff Mueller

Fold and Perish, the 1999 debut solo record from Jeff Mueller (who also plays in Shipping News and was formerly in both June of 44 and Rodan), is a study in understatement. It is a brief -- seven songs that clock in at just over 23 minutes -- beautiful glimpse into Mueller's quieter, self-reflective side. The build and crash aesthetic of June of 44 is absent from these decidedly polite songs, but their quiet majesty is equally powerful. Simple, precise instrumentation complements Mueller's raspy almost-swallowed vocals. Mueller recorded the album at home on an analog eight-track recorder, and he lovingly listed all of the elements he employed on the record, including bells, miniature piano, harmonica, and a handful of guitars.

"Formed in Atoms," featured here, features layers of gentle twinkling guitar frosted with Mueller's sleepy, sensuous voice. His vocals barely rise above a whisper, floating through and around the swelling layers of guitar, only to give way to softly rumbling ambient noise at the end of the track.