I first stumbled upon Ruth Garbus’ music last fall when attempting to listen to every single Vermont pop weirdo I could find. Garbus’ Rendezvous with Rama album for Autumn was one of the first records I found from this scene and I was instantly struck by the power of its ultra minimal instrumentation (just guitar and voice) in conjunction with Garbus’ lush harmonic/melodic sensibilities and bittersweetly wry lyrics. Garbus is one of the rare songwriters whose distinct style comes directly from the raw structural material of her songs as opposed to any sort of additional arrangement/production. There’s often so much going on between the lyrics and the melodic, and harmonic material of Garbus’ work that any additional instrumentation could ultimately cloud the subtle ideas present in the bare elements of her songwriting. It’s obvious that a significant amount of composition goes into each one of Garbus’ songs and perhaps her desire to achieve such formal structural clarity is why she isn’t as prolific as some of the other artists in the Brattleboro/Burlington scene. However, every single release of Garbus’ is always excellently crafted and the Joule EP is another wonderful entry in her canon.
All of Garbus’ music has an interesting implicit fascination with the recording space that her songs occupy. Where Rendezvous with Rama was full of open space and natural reverb and Ruthie’s Requests contained various bits of tape detritus, Joule EP works with a far more compressed landscape that is highlighted by the doubling of Garbus’ guitar/voice on most tracks. In some ways, this condensing of sound makes the EP seem a bit more straightforward at first but like other Vermont songwriters Chris Weisman and Zach Phillips, Garbus’ music hides complexity behind easy hooks and simple accompaniment. On Joule EP, it takes many listens to realize how truly crazy some of the chords are and similarly, Garbus’ lyrics on Joule EP contain surprisingly political messages that only begin to reveal themselves over time. Joule EP is another great example of how Garbus is creating some of the most forward looking singer-songwriter music around.
• Ruth Garbus: http://www.ruthgarbus.bandcamp.com
Evan A. James
Evan A. James’ self-titled cassette is economical. It is economical in that it induces rich image through sound. We feel as though Mr. James is sharing snapshots of an abandoned hotel. He may have discovered the snapshots while panning for fake pearls. Dusting off the surface, he realizes their remarkable beauty. He arranges them to emphasize their luster, even though they’ve plainly dulled.
There are no snapshots of the majestic lobby, only pictures of its offspring, the unkempt rooms. Transients haunted the rooms; rooms that are now filled with their floating sounds, sounds on photographs, romantic and weary.
Perhaps, in “Gallery Waltz,” the photographer frames a picture of a well-worn couple, mechanically starting and stopping their intimacies in the oblivion of a nondescript room. In “Sunrise,” perhaps, an agoraphobe, in apprehensive awe, watches the day transpire through a silted-up window pane. In “Chord,” a family member leans in closer to hear the bubble-mouthed telekinetic’s last gurgles, indecipherable over the medical drones. Perhaps.
As a well-kept hidden-secret since April, “TEARS” by MEISHI SMILE was turn’t into a video by the ever evolving and growing art by Dataerase. And that’s exactly what is happening here in this glitched-out heavy flow of streams just streaking down your checks that are [ctrl] & [x]’d from reality. Continuing the cult of digital manipulation, Dataerase here won’t stop their services of pure mayhem in mind control. Unabashedly, the video for “TEARS” by MEISHI SMILE strips all memory, as though it right clicks and eliminates your consciously brimming recycling bin at the forefronts of your mind.
Sort of like trying to forget, “TEARS” flickers with imagery and words that are both remembered and misunderstood. Thus, letting the colors fade, the memories collapse, and the backgrounds hack around heaps of digital glitter, it’s almost MORE ROMANTIC to let go than to hold on. There’s also no option for choice here, as the video will kindly erase bad memories whether or not you want it to, so if you wanna harness crabby thoughts, watch “TEARS” below at your own risk, viewer:
Meishi Smile’s first album LUST was released January 28 via Attack the Music and Zoom Lenss. Vinyl is all sold out, but you can snag it on CD or digitally here.
A few days ago, two Latin words became more relevant to two brain hemispheres, which – subsuming dualist debauchery – effectively vanguard my sensory-cultural intake. Aesthetically, this pair of words evokes a distinguished sentiment, risen from the small print on the back of a diploma. If you throw them at a translation website and press the speech button, a nervous voice will spew “different song.”
With(out) further adieu: Psalmus Diuersae. If you want to so call it, the label emerged from a decided nonchalance in abstraction. A little bird relays tales of a crypt of glitch-democracy, wherein Psalmus Diuersae acts as a melting pot for stews of erratic and kinetic ingredients. Instead of potatoes, beef, or carrots, you might bite on coordinates, technical instructions, Français, mathematics, and so forth. The hands which toss and stir are/is Psalmus Diuersae. Collapse/clarify.
While the audio presented by Psalmus Diuersae might stem from singular sources, everything else is decidedly subject to change by any of the many(or few) artists constituent of collective effort. Regardless, mavers_GEP, (as it now stands), is the purported title for a group of three tracks recently released via Psalmus. Much like the other releases online, mavers_GEP is a whirlpool of obscurity, garbled and gargled into a transitionary dimension, in which you pull relations like rubber bands. It’s nostalgia is only in the framework of narrative, which dissolves without a subject, and wanders without an object. At one point, a tired friend recounts a dream about traveling as a group. A touchstone, which embodies the march of Psalmus Diuersae into a swirling enigma. It’s worth it to tag along, but don’t expect resolution. That’s not in the soup.
• Psalmus Diuersae: http://diuersae.bandcamp.com