Coming as it does on the heels of the Men Album -- a mere eight months, which is a brief period for -- The Conduit is a collection of untitled songs that Jarboe collaborates on with Nic LeBan using words written by poet and artist Joshua Fraser on the first eight tracks, and the remaining three cuts written by members of her subscription list. Jarboe has been cutting away everything unnecessary from her music since Anhedoniac. The Conduit speaks to a kind of minimal approach that is not so much stripped down as stripped away. Here the artist gets to her poetic voice, reached through both spoken word and sung vocals, LeBan's guitar -- doing his best David Gilmour very convincingly -- is the bridge between her various keyboards and noise and the sprite that floats throughout these "songs." The Conduit is modern art song, full of the kind of spirit and dark passion that needs no rhythm but that of the human -- and living -- voice. Jarboe's sense of dynamic, drama, and texture create an atmosphere for the listener to be seduced by and fall into. Her organ on the second part recalls everyone from Messiaen to Bach to early Pink Floyd. The droning chords shimmer but they shake, too, as her vocal whispers and then mournfully moans before overlapping itself in a dreamy landscape that is neither ethereal nor safe. In these gorgeously wrought pieces, it's as if Jarboe states over and again that in personal revelation, in unconscious urge, nothing is safe. It is the price of living fully. Certainly the music here is dark; it is noirish in a truly modernist context (how refreshing!). Fraser's words enter Jarboe, and, they speak through her -- the album's subtitle is Speak Through Me -- and he does. These words, from one multidimensional artist and human being, enter the singer, and she articulates them with their own weight and adds her own, as well, spiritually, unconsciously, and experientially. The end result of course is new language. Words are recognized with individual meanings but become new through their articulation. The editing and production here, with unexpected lapses in the tape where brief silences enter abruptly, startle the listener enough into refocusing and re-entering them often as different narratives present themselves. This is music as story, not horizontally, but vertically; utterance; the combined speech of music and the language created by the voice as it comes up from the well of the deep. The Conduit is, finally, Jarboe's most nakedly expressive and musically focused recording yet.