voice memos [CS; Happy Accidents]

Helmed by Natasha El-Sergany (and recently adding recent Cerbs favorite Joshua Medina), somesurprises is…well…some surprise. El-Sergany is a recent Seattle resident, transplanted from Virginia. voice memos is her solo, in a setting many musicians find themselves in when inspiration hits: a phone and a voice. But these are haunting recordings and despite being recorded via a phone, the graceful fog of El-Sergany’s melodies and voice are ever-present. voice memos is akin to a lo-fi Grouper or Jesy Fortino actually singing over her recent ambient album. Most surprising (I can’t help it, because it’s the best vocabulary word) is the inclusion of Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” replete with a deflated keyboard melody accompanying El-Sergany’s not-quite-sorry vocals. Yet it’s her original material that wins the day, with the phone aesthetic being a favorite of mine. “Luvv” has a silly spelling but quite a serious vibe to its quiet buzzsaw of a melody. Monolithic B-sider “Paolo and Francesca” is 21 minutes of patience rewarded with a lullaby of repeated chords and frilly notes before El-Sergany begins unleashing the inner Crazy Horse. The feedback and harshness is Arc levels of awesome, but far more subdued than the 25 year old piece. And far more contemplative, perhaps even heartbroken. All I really care about is that this is heard, because El-Sergany — as selfishly as I like to keep secrets of this magnitude — should be heard. But do it via tape and not your own phone, though I’m sure there’s something to be said for the duplicity of phone-phonics.


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