Mem1: +1

Mem1 is the duo of Mark and Laura Cetilla. Each track on this album is a collaboration with a different artist-- the plus-ones to whom the title refers. It's a collection of abstract, unnatural sounds, but the feeling is markedly soft and intimate. There's a palpable interplay between the musicians, each collaborator bringing his own style to the fold, and it shows beautifully, or even romantically.

The collaboration with Area C is the most effective, as the odd embrace of the rest of the song slowly envelops his furtively plucked guitar. Subtle touches are the album's greatest strength, showcasing a sensitivity that allows for surprises like the slight melody on the track with Kadet Kuhne, which is revealed tentatively, like a secret admission.

The less successful songs are those that feature prominent beats, the bothersome insistence of the rhythm wedges distance into the collaborations. It can at times produce something more trance-like, but overall it prevents closer listening and blocks the gentle touches evident on other tracks.

Yet despite all the different approaches the album feels consistent due to the duo's warm haze, the rustling rhythmic ambivalence that they wrap around each song. Their contributions are often more atmospheric than those of their guests, but it is clearly their house they live in when it comes to collaborations. They contribute the setting in which the entire album operates and, in the end, evokes a very welcoming feeling. -Pat Dahn

Junk Media (2009)