♫♪  Sebastian Maria - Album Au Point de Croix

From TMT First Quarter Favorite producer Sebastian Maria comes this personal Fourth Quarter Favorite composition/mix/pop album/crossstitch, Album Au Point de Croix. Consider listening at least until you hear the vocals, and you might find yourself in the future, having listened for the mix’s duration, not remembering what window it’s playing from, maybe by the 19-minute mark believing it’s all around you.

The title refers to a cross-stitch, maybe the warped embroidery of its cover, the mended wounds of palms and feet, the songs as sewn together here.

Stitch sounds like interstitial, which approaches “liminality” in the music writer’s dictionary of concepts that have crossed the threshold into High Art-trapped meaning. But interstitial is also an ecological term, referring to the specialized niches of microorganisms navigating between grains of sand on exposed beaches, the patterns they weave between waves, entire livelihoods, not nothing.

Idk, I’ve never lived in New York City, but I have seen bioluminescent microorganisms wash up on a beach at night and that sight is one of my happiest memories, even if it makes me sad that I was so drunk that I can’t quite remember it. Sometimes I practice remembering it, other times I fantasize about somehow tracking the dinoflagellates from coast to coast. You can easily find pictures of the glowing effect online. I haven’t had a drink in 28 months.

There’s a part later into this Album that made me feel as devastated, turning up the volume louder and louder, as anything else this year. This year calls for a higher power.

Anyway, those are my words, not his. In Maria’s words, “I don’t claim to bring anything new into this world.”

Humility is becoming, these sounds are becoming, Album Au Point de Croix is mutant, heavenly, not just DAW-demonic, but like singing songs in your bedroom, drifting off to sleep, the sounds from the street coming into the air, finishing a prayer, fragments from the news radio circling like a devil, “reflections off the poolside.”

Sebastian Maria belongs to Sazón Department, a collective of New York musicians including Magnolia Polaris, Diego Hauz, and Probablyourdaddy, who set out to “survey the landscape of latinx music and show how techno, house, hardcore, hip-hop, and other genres have been mixing with salsa, reggaeton, cumbia, baile funk and other music from the South American and Caribbean diaspora.”

Connections that became collective.

This mix seems to open up possibilities mid-song, mid-breath; it breathes together, flows thoughtfully, in a mode, the result of a honed artistic practice. He repeats, “I believe in something else.” His “unsustainable,” obsessive 60-hour/week work ritual has wrought us many bangers this year, and these 25 minutes might be the finest.

Imagine that kind of commitment to a trade, and I think of the 155 pages of work under C Monster’s name. It’s difficult not to be moved by the power of that work, even if the yield is merely tiny mix tapes.

The decade is nearly over. Interstitial and stitch don’t share any etymological roots. But listen: connections can be made, nevertheless!

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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