Baja Aether Obelisk

Not the splashdown into pop waters of, say, Caribou, Daniel Vujanic is nonetheless dipping his toes in the pool with a few more lyrics on this fourth release. Baja signals the continued cross-wiring with an introductory cough and wolf slide on the acoustic guitar that's pierced by a sine tone on "9 Seconds." From there on, vibraphones and '70s flutes rub against cut-up drum patterns and vocal edits. Vujanic neatly interchanges noise and melody roles, creating competition and dissonance that evolves into harmony. For example, "Graph-viak" unexpectedly flips from a post-drum & bass froth to an oddly '80s-ish pop song without breaking rhythm. Last year's Wolfhour had a similarly broad palette of sounds, though this year's model works its transitions and shifts with greater subtlety. "The Story of Fissa Maines" starts as a taped monologue un-spooled from a noisy source and segues into a venue-changing woodwind cue that merges with an electronic pulse and piano figure as "Prism Break" starts. It's an album of lovely surprises that never lags or lulls. (Other Electricities)