‘Swallowed’ is soft and coy; acoustic guitar strums and Jessica’s voice are the two most prominent elements, but there’s also a harmonica (or something like that) that sounds off like a beacon every couple seconds. Bailiff’s voice is just incapacitatingly pretty. If a song can have an appropriate natural accompaniment, then a raging snowstorm (observed from someplace warm) is the right choice for this track. It’s soothing and languid, and it fits well with being wrapped up in a blanket, slowly falling asleep, staring out of the window.
Blood Brothers were the best at spinning out high-horror songs, like “Ladies and Gentlemen,” or “Crimes” or “Giant Swan” (maybe the best example). Formulas for evoking despair and disgust. So many of their songs remind me of that one scene in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when Stephen’s going through his most fucked up period, and he wallows through that fever dream where he sees long-tailed goatish creatures, covered in stale shit, walking in a field, whining and moaning. Most of the ‘plots’ of Blood Brothers’ songs are a lot like that: revolting, but vivid and impressive.
Isobel went on to form THE GENTLE WAVES, and she borrowed and then took some of the old Belle & Sebastian sound with her. Though, let’s face it, some of that sound had gotten fucking tired. This was the vibe that slunk all throughout Fold Your Hands Child…and made that album by far the most tedious listen in their whole discography. Isobel’s leaving also supposedly prompted the writing of “I’m Waking Up to Us,” which was when Stuart M. started to turn it around. Who doesn’t still have a soft spot in their heart for Isobel?
“In Your Face” has all the table-pounding bluster of Glasser’s “Apply,” but where Cameron Mesirow’s voice fills the air, dominates the conversation, Christina (Ryat) takes a different tack: she’s quiet, she’s calm, just the facts. There is, as every article or write-up about this band mentions, a hint of Bjork in Christina’s delivery, but as far as singing models go, Bjork’s a pretty good one to choose, so who cares. This is a band that’s finding new forms, and stretching old ones. Ryat’s new LP, Totem, is out on Brainfeeder in May. For now, go check out their most recent album, Avant Gold.
I thought Tennis’s debut album, “Cape Dory,” was all right, but nothing special. This song, however, eclipses everything from that first LP–just in its first minute! For me, it’s that bass, the doubled/backing vocals, the stately piano shuffle, that little break midway through that puts the spotlight on Alaina’s vocals. There’s a high quotient of fine drama in this song. If this is Patrick Carney’s effect or just the band maturing, I don’t know, but it’s great.
Discogs, for whatever reason, has it listed that the John Roberts who contributed to We Are The Works in Progress (the benefit LP for Japan Society and Architecture for Humanity organized by Kazu from Blonde Redhead) is this John Roberts, an arranger, conductor, and orchestrator for Barry White. I think that’s wrong. I’m pretty sure this is the John Roberts behind 2010’s wonderful Glass Eights. “Berceuse” is a departure from that sound though, there is very little here that you would label ‘electronic.’ It’s more like the music from Glass Eights transliterated entirely to analogue instruments (in that way reminiscent of something like “Drukqs”). There is the familiar dust and static, the warmth–present from the beginning in the form of a harmonium (or altered woodwind)–and the depth, where the track opens up, expands into space around the 2:00 mark.
There is a certain kind of person who enjoys the rare pleasure of being put off-balance. People who listen to and seek out new music are like this, I think. You grow accustomed to sounds. Your ability to listen becomes more sophisticated, or at least more experienced, after years of absorbing songs, sounds, noise. Surprises usually arrive in the form of new sounds, or occasionally as old sounds put to new purposes. That’s what’s happening here, on “Soaring.” The components Shigeto usues are all identifiable and in some sense familiar, but they’re deployed to create an asymmetry in the song, so that it’s tough to get your bearings: things are moving at different speeds.
Check out this footnote on GES (as it’s abbreviated by the label) on Faitiche’s website:
* The premise of the G.E.S.:
Approximately 90 % of all music copyright disputes end in a settlement. Thus, the damages to the sampling artist are primarily of a financial nature: legal fees and the sum of the actual settlement. So, what if members of the G.E.S. contributed an annual fee to cover such fees and damages? The sampling artist could pursue his work, secure in the knowledge that any legal correspondence or similar would be covered by the society. This financial security, in turn, could pave the way for a brazen sense of legal security. A sense of legal protection to prevent persistent worries about the source material’s recognisability – does it require further distortion or modification to avoid infringement of third party rights? In short: the pool would enable the emancipation of aesthetic and content-related considerations from copyright claims.
Naturally, this newfound ‘legal security’ remains deceptive – after all, it would help to limit, not prevent potential damages in case of a lawsuit. Perceived legal protection becomes the glorious gloss of the decriminalisation of sampling. A valid fallacy nevertheless – as long as the illusion has an emancipating influence on the artist’s overall approach.
I love this idea. Besuch aus der Unterwelt is from GES’s “More Circulations” which follows up on the technique used on the collective’s first album, “Circulations.” The idea, besides the legal/aesthetic freedom outlined above, is to make collages of sampled (or otherwise) material played in public places, for instance, with this release, in a hotel lobby, in an office, a public garden, a beach in Portugal, etc. (if I had to guess at the location for Besuch aus der Unterwelt, I’d say the lobby or the office). Creeping organ, glassy percussive essence, a pause, some talk, a laugh, static, the end.
Kindness ushers you not ungently into the foyer of four-color existence. Which is to say this song is both bright and deep, supported and stretched by that ligature bass. Space-out dance music, pretty and soothing, but not diluted. The taste of something you’ve had before, but not for a long time.