Jürgen de Blonde, Hidden Rabbit (Tom): It took me a few listens to realize that "Reincarnary (for the dead birds)" damn near reprises Sunny Day Real Estate's "Friday," which came as something of a shock, given the context. Tom, the Cologne label responsible for de Blonde's debut under his own name, has been known until now for burbly, baubly electronica, by turns austere and childishly oddball. De Blonde himself is better known as Köhn, whose greyscale soundwashes, while not exactly glum, were none too chirpy. But Hidden Rabbit roots about in Jim O'Rourke's toy chest of zithers, chimes and deadpan vocals, dragging out the musical watercolors to paint an inspired landscape that captures the wide-eyed wonderment of its maker. This is pop at its purest (hell, he even dedicates a track to Meredith Brooks), where the rules of genre fall to the winds. From a city better known for stern-faced, monochrome dub, de Blonde produces a shimmering mixture of horns, guitars, organ and indie-pop vocal stylings. Swollen with harmony and sweet tension, at moments it spills over into MBV-inspired feedback excess — a remarkable moment of candor from a maker of German electronica who's not afraid to let his hair down. — Philip Sherburne

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