Mister Lies Mister Lies

[Self-Released; 2019]

Styles: dreams, memory, immersion
Others: David Sylvian, You’ll Never Get to Heaven, Laurel Halo, How to Dress Well

The moment that I remember is when he threw the book into the waves. It was less like Rhoda in The Waves who threw her bunch of lilacs into the spreading waters and said, “Consume me, carry me to the furthest limit,” she who said the same to a star riding through clouds one night and, with only a thin sheet to protect her fragility from the infinite depths on all sides surrounding her, supposed that she was dying and died.

Yes, the moment that I remember was less like the wave that had since broken, the bunch since withered, since in my memory his lilacs are enlivened, the waters still spread their surging sparkle, and among the sleek dolphin backs that slaked the sea’s serene unbroken surface, the book that out of pure delight, perhaps, had loosed from his hands still plunges slowly submerged to that once lost library at the bottom of the sea whose serous librarians collect all lost shards of memories, cleanse them of any encumbrance of meaning to convey their sleek, time-polished wreckage upon unknown shores as atonements for forgetting, utterly effaced.

This moment that I remember is not an isolable past to be captured or contained. Nor is it past at all. Presently, it passes away, as it makes me as I make it together with our breath. And as the book drifts its spiral downwards through the sunless haze of depth, my memories are its current, its drift, its draft, its wafts, its wanes, and the veins of sunbeams that no longer reach the voids they open to the tendrils of their caress.

Mister Lies’s Nick Zanka also threw Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva into the waves. He also said to that star, “consume me.” He is also devoted to “capturing the present despite a struggle to remain rooted in it” (as he wrote in a short reflection to commemorate the release of the latest of his underwater ventures as Mister Lies). He also is, and is “capturing the present,” as he sings on “Água Viva,” “with such a hallelujah.” But “the present slips away and the instant too,” writes Clarice, she who also sought in Água Viva “to capture the present, forbidden by its very nature.”

But often the very music that, lighting upon the textural swell and heave of presence, the drifting and the dreamy stuff of soothing, can abolish the distance with which one can see the present in the instant one transports elsewhere in the opening of the new, an abolition that is not an abolition but a prolongation of the present weariness, the present’s weariness, smoothing over any chance for escape, any opening of a place for reflection that can rearrange the world around one in the dizzying bliss of performing that which one is forming as a sudden surge of wind might fling finally open the door.

Yet, if not every instant is a present and if not every present is a presence, then perhaps that insurgent force of memory that can grasp what slips away in the way it slips, as its bright away streams starlight, beams all that despite its distance, if let alone to make music from archived field recordings, old tapes and whispers, longings, journals, or sketches, might sound the presence of the one who could become enough to be, present and presently, what one always was awash in memory’s waves. “Give yourself a gift,” he sings on “Speedboat.” “Don’t give yourself away.”

Music is a gift, and this, a present, a presence. To give oneself as one might gift a bouquet of lilacs to the waves, condensing oneself in the presence of the present slipping away from one’s hands that can only offer this, this self enough to give oneself a way to give one’s self away. To make music from memory about memory and out of the very stuff of remembering requires nothing less than complete submergence in the passing of the present away. To throw the bunch into the waves or to cry out to the hour of the star is to ache against separation, to be close, to be consumed. To birth mirrors and breathe shadows, an underwater embrace, to lead one’s past by hand into the bright unknown of the present beckoning beyond this open door.

Listen as Mister Lies opens the shades, the shutters, any and all constraints that isolate the present from its flow and flare so that the present, that which cannot be captured, can be captured, pictured, or seized in its streaming, bright, nebulous away, which is not to isolate it, but to “make it together with our breath,” as Clarice writes it, with such a hallelujah.

“It’s with such profound happiness,” she writes. “Such a hallelujah. Hallelujah, I shout, hallelujah merging with the darkest human howl of the pain of separation but a shout of diabolic joy. Because no one can hold be back now.”


Some releases are so incredible we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and explore the constructed boundaries between ‘music’ and ‘noise,’ others complement, continue, or rupture traditions that provide new forms and ways of listening. Not all of our favorites will be listed here, but we think each EUREKA! album is worthy of careful consideration. This section is a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.

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