New sounds from old favorites
Four things I’ve been listening to this week by four of my favorite artists. I was apparently seeking some consistency, as each of these is immediately recognizable. But their distinctive fingerprints make each of these artists so compelling. In order of most chill to least:
Erik Hall - Music for 18 Musicians
Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians played by one musician. It shouldn’t work, but Hall nails it here. He picks the perfect textures for each voice to keep you hooked for an hour. Is this some weird commentary on how we’ve computerized everything and don’t need each other anymore? Hmm.
Midwife & Vyva Melinkolya - Orbweaving
I love everything Madeline Johnston does, even if all of her collaborations end up sounding distinctively like Midwife. Nothing can resist melting around her mystical vocals, sung into an old telephone handset. For the young people who may be reading this blog, back in the day everyone sounded like Midwife when they talked on the phone, all whispery and wistful.
Squirrel Flower - Full Time Job/When A Plant Is Dying
This is the teaser single for Squirrel Flower’s new LP “Tomorrow’s Fire,” coming out in October. The two songs here have big, crashy shoegazer guitars, dirgy blues riffs, and Ella Williams’ haunting gothic voice. I’m hoping this is the general mood for the new album because these tracks are tremendous.
Godflesh - Purge
Having finished his duties as the program chair of the Conference on Learning Theory, Gergely Neu insisted we see Godflesh when I visited him in Barcelona. The show was out in Barceloneta, which meant we had to take the metro to the end of the line, and then walk a couple of miles to the edge of town where a few clubs were scattered among old warehouses. Whatever, it was worth it. They played a bunch of their old songs, and featured a few from this new LP. Godflesh has been around for over 30 years now, but they were so ahead of their time in 1989 that this new record doesn’t sound like a throwback.