After releasing his critically acclaimed electro-poppin' debut, Automata in 2000, Jai Agnish dropped off the map and fled back to his bedroom, where music-making all began for him. He needed time to fall in love with making music again after a bout with music biz burnout and a busy newspaper reporter schedule at odds with the rock n' roll night life. He did emerge, receiving a morale boost earlier this year from his friend and former band-mate, Sufjan Stevens, who included one of Agnish's songs on the Mews Too Asthmatic Kitty compilation. At the turn of the year, Agnish built a MySpace site where he re-connected with peers, friends and fans. Agnish also took an editor job that enabled him to start performing regularly again. A fan of his who had just begun a new indie label came across Agnish on MySpace and asked if he'd like to work with him. And so it is with great pleasure that ClerestoryAV presents Mechanical Sunshine, a 15-song collection of material Agnish recorded between 2000 and 2005. The songs pick up where Automata left off, furthering his vision of man and machines that began, we think, with Kraftwerk in the 1980's. Agnish kicks out drum machine beats and melody, lavishly spreading a thick layer of pop atop it all. Songs emerge from this cheerful experiment rich, lovely, and profoundly odd. It's an approach that inspired the Village Voice to write that Agnish "might be the reincarnation of Nick Drake, who this time around decided to lock himself in his room and OD on a sampler, guitar, and some Fisher-Price instruments." The Toronto Star described him as a "21st Century descendent of Nick Drake or Leonard Cohen" who "employs electronics to greatly expand the performance potential of folk's typical guy-with-a-guitar format." Pitchfork wrote, "Agnish blends electronics, toys, and folk into a chalice and offers it to you as a gift." Look for Mechanical Sunshine to hit stores and on-line outlets July 25th, 2006, on ClerestoryAV.
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