Chiaroscuro is an album of contemporary composition that will be released on 1 July 2020 on Redshift Records. Upon being hooked up w/ a review copy, I didn’t know much about this artist other than that they exist in the same Canadian scene as Nick Storring, whose recent LP My Magic Dreams Have Lost Their SpellI wrote up on this blog when it was released on Orange Milk, my favorite label. I think fans of that LP will find a lot to like in this album, which is being released on CD format.
“Chiaroscuro” is an artistic term that refers to the use of light & shadow in visual works. The titular 30-minute composition certainly sounds like an aural translation of the concept, contrasting lightness & dark to create a piece of music that seems to extrude in three dimensions. I perceive an emphasis on the “dark”, & the near-blackness of the cover art seems to back that theory up. I guess as I write this there is a certain amount of darkness in my own life… it’s the depression that comes naturally to me from a month spent indoors. I live in Texas, not California, so the stay-at-home order issued by Nacogdoches is a lot more flexible than it could be… & in fact I’ve broken it multiple times to stock up on intoxicating substances. In fact it’s my entire quarantine gimmick that I’ve been drinking again!
One night I walked half a mile to the closest drugstore to buy wine; it was like there was a god-damn people convention going down at that CVS – I swear, there were more people out & about on a Friday night than before all this! As I bobbed & weaved through the aisles, my breath vented from the top of my neon green facemask (made by mom 😍) & fogged up my glasses, obscuring my vision. I’ve been to that CVS at least half a dozen times now; if I have COVID-19 at this point, then I have it. I worry about my parents, though… dad visits at least once a week since I’m not able to get groceries on my own. Imagine if mom & dad got coronavirus b/c I have a drinking problem… that’s a pretty dark thought 😢. But where’s the light to contrast it with? Well… I suppose the frequent walks are good for my mental health.
If the titular composition seems to emphasize the darkness, the light shines through again on track 2, “Pulses”, an older composition. This piece is evocative of minimalism & I like it a lot. The music on this album has kind of a grand scope, & it’s making me whip up grand theories… the way I see it, there is an axis that divides all aesthetics… things that are interesting b/c they’re “weird,” vs. things that are interesting b/c they’re “pretty.” This CD by Jordan Nobles is from the totally opposite end of the spectrum than me. I’m weird, but this is pretty. Maybe that was the real “Chiaroscuro” all along.
You can buy this CD here on Bandcamp, or here direct from the label.
Okay… I wrote up both of these artists individually just last week? Am I really featuring them again so soon? What’s going on, Mike… be real. Listen – both these artists live in Texas… I live in Texas… it’s just that the situation made me a little excitable, especially as I scheme to achieve escape velocity from the town of Nacogdoches. This is my only crime! I have an excuse this time – the heaps of free press I’ve been giving these two has paid dividends… Bandcamp (that famous site) dropped me an e-mail w/ a subject line that went like, “Booyahshakah!” or some such thing… based on the steady hand of my guidance, one intrepid Bandcamp user was inspired by my recommendation to buy this tape on Mondoj, which I have repeatedly stated is one of the best of the year. At this point, I’m a broken record! I’ve got a couple of those in my collection actually… always a bummer.
Bandcamp’s e-mail reached me late Tuesday night… then I fell asleep, & I had a dream that I wrote the review you’re reading right now. According to my dream I would author a “5 minute read” about this album. I’m going to tweet out that I got this e-mail, & I’m going to tag them, I thought in my dream. And then I’ll say that I’m working on a review. My oh my, even unconsciously I’m such a sweetheart… yet I said in my review of Marithat once upon a time I was an Internet troll? Well, I don’t mean to brag, but Twitter’s algorithm recently guessed I have an interest in Neon Genesis Evangelion… so. Name one genius who’s not a complex personality. Anyhoo… later the same night as my prophetic dream about this tape & the write-up on it that I have created, I experienced an absolutely insane nightmare… there were many layers, but basically, in this dream I smoked a joint, & it made me lose my mind. I felt this weird dream-high… a kid was filming my substance-induced break w/ reality w/ his smartphone; I confiscated it, except it turned into this weird Fisher Price contraption… I tore it apart with my bare hands, & the child regressed into a baby… “How’d ya like this!?” I shouted at that baby, & threw the shattered pieces of its toy phone at its feet, & that baby cried. Insane… I gasped awake at 5 in the morning & thought, I think that dream was actually about how I’m drinking again & not doing anything to stop myself. It left a mark on my waking mind for sure… then I really did tweet out the screenshot of the Bandcamp e-mail (my caption? “No need to thank me. I do literally everything just for the love of the game,”) then as work was approaching I was starting to just feel seriously wigged, & I deactivated my account before anybody could see. Maybe all of that is intense to share, & has absolutely nothing to do w/ this album’s contents (though this album is intense in its own way)… I was just trying to establish a personal connection. My point is that one more person owns this music because of me. And also, I’m going to lose my mind if I keep it up w/ the quarantine drinking… in my last post I was so innocent. I thought I could turn on a dime & push forward w/ 2 weeks of stone sobriety starting at that very moment. Turns out addiction is kind of a powerful force.
Gee, Mike, how heavy… and hey, what’s the title of this album’s very first track? “Drunk”. It is an utter epic that approaches close to 20 minutes in length, & seems to mimic the experience of exactly what it is titled – starting off, there is an intense build up of a wall of sound that expresses what I had felt overnight in my dream, alcohol gradually filtering out of my system; my thoughts overwhelming me in a state of intoxication (but lovelier & more “pop” than the context of my weird distressing nightmares). I read somewhere, I can’t even remember where (maybe I dreamt it), claire rousay’s sound is an exploration of queerness, & that’s an apt description for the unorthodox percussive noises that pervade this entire album. There is beautiful guitar on this track, & it evokes everything best about the drug… when I’ve drunk a six pack for the night I am happy & everything is filled with light. Mari offers heavily processed vocals, which might illuminate the themes of this track if only I could understand them… I can’t follow along perfectly but I think at one point she sings, “You’re actually doing okay…” Thanks, I find that a reassuring sequence of words to hear right now. In the final section of the song there is what sounds like the piercing ring of a bell, like a fire alarm, & this is when I think the song reaches transcendence. A pulsing wall of sound returns, enveloping the listener, & then fades. Conclusion. “Drunk” is a beautiful track.
I think that comprises Side A but I can’t be sure b/c the physical has not yet arrived to me from Europe. There are two more tracks on the album that form a complement to each other, “Pre-op” & “Post-op”. “Pre-op” begins with the most experimental sounds in the album so far. It reminds me of a more aggressive version of the ASMR-esque ambiance of claire’s solo work; Mari’s processed voice lilts above it sounding angelic. This album is a fusion of both musicians’ artistic practices. After Mari’s interlude the aggressive experimental sounds return to loom over the track again, reaching what feels to me like an almost suffocating dysphoria… it ends with the steady thump of what sounds like a bell, creating timid relief to the emotions it previously conjured. The final track is “Post-op”. Again this track reminds me of claire’s solo work in its use of pure texture… Mari’s vocals return, & there is a sound that reminds me of the hatching of an egg. It begins to dominate the track, yet the sounds are sparser than what came before… then, the sweet rapture of Experimental Music(TM), the Good Stuff, pile on. Hey, I was expecting maybe “Post-op” would be a bit happier than the preceding composition? Maybe that emotion isn’t clearly identifiable for someone like me to pick out… but um, will beauty do instead??
So. I was compelled by a dream to write this review. It cracked a thousand words… my blogging software generates a time in minutes for how long it takes to read each post I publish. According to my dream this one would be five… it sure would be eerie if my dream came true. And I interpreted no shortage of prophesy in my substance-use nightmare, either… check back on that later. What did I say in the tweet I wrote in my dream? No reason to thank me for writing this. I do literally everything just for the love of the game.
PLEASE don’t tell my mom! But with the new reality of COVID-19 settled in, I’ve become a real “weekend warrior”… of drinking booze! Once upon a time, someone shared me a track from like Panda Bear or whoever & it didn’t click for me; they said they were drunk & high listening to it & it was awesome… I’ve been listening to the digital files of this new qualchan. release, which will materialize physically as a cassette at some unknown future date in these uncertain times… I made a note to myself, “These beats seem ‘trippier’ than what was on the artist’s prior release the end of all seasons.…” then the demons of day drinking took over that afternoon & I was suddenly like “WOAH! Is this like that one Panda Bear album? I’m not high but I’m drunk, & these woozy beats sound awesome…” but first I had to do my due diligence & pull up Spotify, which I crack using a certain ad blocker, to listen to Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper front-to-back. Just to confirm if there were any similarities… wow, this Panda Bear album that I’m bringing up in the write-up I’m doing for qualchan. was released in 2015… that’s the same year I moved to this town. Five years… the entire second half of my twenties… it hasn’t been all bad though. If you ask me, thirty is the new twenty, but if you’re even younger now… cherish it while you can…
I ran out of beer halfway through the Panda Bear album; it was a Sunday night & I didn’t want a killer hangover Monday morning during work, so to force myself to stop drinking I thought the best thing to do was to take my sleeping pills & pass out. Well I’ve got news for you, sleeping isn’t just a matter of knocking yrself out w/ drugs… you’ve also got a circadian rhythm, & falling asleep at 5PM? Tricky proposition when every other night you’re doing it between 7 & 9… in my life I’ve dealt with lots of challenges due to mental illness, lots of it’s in the past, but this damn insomnia hounds me every single night of my life… and somehow I feel it’s even harder for others to understand than if I simply had problems with my mood… I lied in that bed worried about sleep for hours. I took inventory of my medication & slipped myself extra to try to really knock myself on my ass… finally at some point I lost consciousness & woke up the next morning fresh as a daisy. Wow! I was not expecting the night to go that well. Cool… I think I’ll try to take my sobriety a little more seriously from now on, though, thanks.
So if you’re not intoxicated, is this album worth your time? Certainly… switch this on & the lo-fi beats fill the air like a haze, positioning themselves somewhere just ahead in the foreground than “ambient”… take a vibe-o-meter to ‘em & the needle plunges into the blue. Breezy chill… it’s perfectly restorative music for the morning after drinking, checking my work e-mails… my loved one’s been expressing his concern that I’ve been drinking again. Alright, alright! If it’s not sustainable to get attention online by using substances, there’s only one other direction to go… I’ve got to build a big number doing the straightedge thing. Times are really hard right now, so let’s start with baby steps… see you again in 2 weeks.
qualchan. was offering digital of this album gratis to bloggers… and he may have actually explicitly given copies to me before the album came out & I forgot (I’m sorry!)… but I was happy to buy them myself for five dollars. It’s out now on peradam tapes.… I’m looking forward to a future when “ordering the physical” is not complicated; there’s no delay in its production & it’s alright to go outside & mail it. I hope that time comes again someday.
Something is happening in Texas… & Mike is elbowing his way straight into the middle of it all the way from his home base in the Piney Woods. An explosive exposé dropped earlier this week… Mike of Mike’s Blog CAUGHT in claire rousay’s Twitter replies… the trolls were having a field day with that one… welllll one exposé wasn’t enough to take down the NOODLE DROP guy… & it’ll take ten more before Mike finally cancels himself (through his own actions). Kinda makes you think… if you just keep doing your thing, a base of people will hang around you no matter what. The worst you’ll have to do is maybe disappear for a year… um, why the HELL does Louis CK have a new special in the age of quarantine but we’re all telling Aziz Ansari, a person of color, to go to hell??? Mike… bruh… where the f*ck is this coming from… I’m sorry I don’t know; this is supposed to be my big write-up of one of the most jamming avant-pop bangers of the year, Mari by More Eaze.
My number-one impression of Mari as a person? She’s very nice… which is great. When the experimental music scene is so dependent on the Internet for networking (no pun intended… hah… just a little IT humor… sorry) being a troll to everybody seems like a bad tactic… boy I wish I coulda told myself this ~3 years ago. Yes… Mike of Mike’s Blog was once a troll… one night past my bedtime I POURED OUT MY SOUL on Mari’s FB wall…. “Mari Maurice I am regretful of the first impressions we shared… there was a time when my behavior online was a problem & it was in part b/c I suffered in my mental health & had the wrong tools to cope… I hope one day I can escape this town & we can get a coffee or something. Had to share…✌️ MD outtie” And you know what else!? I think the other problem is that men aren’t socialized to know how to create meaningful relationships with others… Mari responded to thisparagraph of soul I laid at her feet & her response was very nice… it’s kind of exactly the whole thing I’m talking about here. Anyway… uhhhhh WTF was I saying? “Bruh…” I KNOW… so there you have it. Mike’s Blog is hob-knobbing with all the biggest names in Texas… and you can have what I have too; I did it DIY, my only equipment was my big personality, a word processor, & a willingness to go buckwild in the comments. “Ummm, OK Mike… do you edit AT ALL any of this crapola you spew out…” It’s more like I just grab ahold of a feeling & “go for it…”
Anyway the music! That’s what you’re here for I guess. I’ve said it all over the place many times already, earlier in the year More Eaze was already responsible in collaboration w/ the above-mentioned claire rousay for one of the best tapes of the year so far over on Mondoj; with this solo release on Orange Milk Records, her second release on the label by my count, I am blown away w/ the progress she has displayed as an artist. This release is packed w/ straight 🔥 but like the release on Mondoj it also deals with the experience of being trans very frankly… on tracks like “daily routine” the lyrical delivery sounds nigh-confessional. In my estimation Side A is dominated by the highest density of “pop” tracks… when I plugged this tape into my player I was immediately blown away by opening track “talk”. I was noticing buzz on the Interwebs yesterday [I’m thirty years old… when you reach my age sometimes you drop an “Interwebs” in the write-up & DGAF] for the track “progress in therapy” feat. claire & I’ve got to admit it’s bonkers… & the title is cool as hell too. “progress in therapy” is just about the dopest thing I can imagine. I hope it happens to me some day… for years I’ve just been fumbling around on my own & doing emotional donuts… I can do some sick tricks w/ my mental health nowadays actually… when Philip K Dick started experiencing delusions & hallucinations nobody stopped him; they were all like “Yep! He’s got it figured out. No need for us to help him.” That’s exactly what I want when I deal w/ my substance addictions… wow, am I veering into a “bruh moment” again? No I don’t filter much of this when I put it down… right now I’m rocking the mustache of Lester Bangs, w/ like half the problematic ideas about race rattling around my bullshit subconscious… gotta be… I am a critic of rock n roll now & I channel the genre whenever I write. “Bruh!” Sorry, sorry! You keep saying this to me… “I guess every superhero need his theme music.” I’m savvy enough not to shoehorn my sympathetic Kanye takes into this piece as well… I’ve put my readers through enough.
I love this tape, & the artist is a great person. I hope this write-up has done its job of compelling you to check it out… I tried to confuse you in order to leave you wanting more. Here is the link to the album streaming on Bandcamp one more time. You can order the physical there. It came out the same day as Macula Dog’s latest EP… there’s a lot going on right now but yesterday was a momentous day for experimental pop. “Onward & dogward!” –I don’t know what this means. Intrigued???
(Humble apologies Robert for cropping your rectangular album art to approximate what appears on the Bandcamp page, it was imperative to my sense of order that it be a perfect square…)
I tell ya what… this Tuesday? Super hard day… it takes a lot to make this man cry… & I still didn’t on Tuesday (actually sometimes I cry over utter bullshit… it takes marijuana to make this man cry, I think. The last time I cried sober was when Daniel Johnston passed away). But Tuesday was a helluva day… I was in a state of alertness from 9 to 4 due to a remote training session mandated by work; I was getting terrible sleep at night for over a week & on Tuesday I just didn’t have the endurance. Work ended & I just sat in my recliner which serves double-duty as my entire home office & I felt… traumatized, actually. I had some new age ambient tapes which I put on & then my phone buzzed with a notification – an artist named Robert Eggplant had e-mailed me about a write-up.
“I’m a huge fan of your blog …”
Those words touched me to my core… like I said in yesterday’s post I reached out to my friend Seth that night to vent, & he thought it was amazing. I decided to keep going, & it was in part because of that e-mail… & also because I had reflected on what an amazing life I’ve built for myself despite the obstacles… & also one person unfollowed me on Twitter & I was determined to carry on out of spite (Seth said something like, “You just listed a bunch of incredible inspirational reasons & one bullshit meaningless one.” One day I’ll have a therapist I can explore this with). Robert didn’t float me a copy of his album for free, but that’s okay; the compliment arrived to me at exactly the right time, & I bought his album for three dollars w/o even streaming it first. He told me in the e-mail it was ambient. I thought, that’s exactly what I need right now.
Robert Eggplant’s words brightened my day… but the sounds of his music are eerie. The tracks have titles like “Travelers of Mold”, “Decay of Decorations”, “Bomber in the Woods”, & the epic finale, “Everything Under the Sun Will Parish”. That seems to suggest kind of a dark mind at play if you ask me… & yet he filled my evening with light? I think it really says something about the duality of man… I’m working on a review for an unrelated Canadian release called Chiaroscuro, or the contrast between light & shadow to create the illusion of depth in visual art… I was definitely having a “three dimensional” moment listening to the music of Robert Eggplant. My favorite aspect of Amalgamation is the artist’s use of field recordings. It’s not something I usually listen to so it was novel when I heard it here, & it really struck me. He did a crafty job.
Thanks, Robert Eggplant, for dropping a line on Mike’s Blog, the world of Mike. I looked up what you can buy for three dollars, & I found this stress ball. I hope it serves you in your quest for mental wellness the way your e-mail served me in mine… I’m three dollars poorer but they were dollars well spent.
Does Mike actually know how to write about music, or is he just going to b*llshit his way through another post with a bunch of autobiography? Read this article, traveller, & find out… claire rousay is a cool musician I discovered b/c she collaborated with More Eaze on the Mondoj release if I don’t let myself be happy now then when?which is one of the best tapes of the year so far. I believe it was last Friday when two more of her works were released into the world (the other one being this collaboration with Alex Cunningham on Astral Spirits), though I had both of them in my hands ahead of the street date. Lucky me!
Didn’t my last post begin with me drinking a whole jug of wine & blacking out on Twitter? This one does too! That night under the influence I sent something “flirty” (supposed to be, anyway) to this musician on there (she had tweeted pictures that I had thought were of her before & after her transition… I said I liked her as a woman)… it was right before I stopped remembering my actions for the night & I woke up the next day with anxiety. Gee Mike, maybe that’s kind of misogynist in some way? I know, right? Anyway I became so embarrassed I stopped listening to either tape I owned. Right afterwards I stopped getting sleep in a major way, & I thought I had addled some core, essential functionality of my delicate, powerful brain with my sobriety improprieties (cool rhyme I just invented, I’m a genius)… I was losing it so badly I called my friend Seth Graham who runs Orange Milk Records to vent about my poor health. We talked for a while. He asked me, “Have you heard of the artist claire rousay?” “Yes,” I said. Yes, actually I’m embarassed right now with the bullshit I’ve tweeted at this person – what a coincidence! He said she had done an interview with another blog that’s not mine that he thought was interesting. This is my transcription of Seth’s retelling of another blog’s claire rousay content, I got it from Seth so I’m not stealing: Seth said that claire said that the experimental music scene was like church culture… once upon a time claire was a drummer in a band in a church, & at this time claire had not yet transitioned, & the person who ran the church’s Instagram account was very self-conscious about their following / follower ratio. If the church had 1,000 followers, they could only follow 200, or else they’d look like losers. Hell, I thought. This is not just churches or experimental musicians; the entirety of social media thinks this way. Seth said he related it to an argument of his own… if we condemn the hoarding of money, why don’t we condemn the hoarding of attention? When he posted this as a Facebook status I misinterpreted it. I said attention is a basic human need, & as a person with mental illness I feel a great lack of it; I think we stigmatize “attention-seeking” when it’s cruel to do so. We narrowed it down to him meaning “one-sided attention forever” which I suggested we call “fame” & then he got distracted (stopped paying attention to me) & we didn’t finish our dialectic. I still don’t think we should stigmatize “attention-seeking”, & that has nothing to do w/ 500+ words pouring out of me so far as atonement for behavior on Twitter that was meant to get this artist’s attention in the first place. That’s just a coincidence, pal… I would describe the lifting of my writer’s block as more like a “miracle” honestly.
It’s ridiculous that I stopped listening to this tape. What would she want? I think she would want me to listen to it. Well okay Carl Jung because I’m writing it up for my blog now. I think this is great experimental music. It’s minimal, & tracks such as “loose light” have the ambiance of an ASMR recording. At the end of that one, she plays an iPhone’s text-messaging software like percussion. Mind-blowing! The track that follows contains more pleasantly paresthesiac word-whispering & piano music that echoes as if inside a church. The final track on the album, “last date”, is a nearly 9-minute epic that has it all – voices, tender percussion, audio glitches & sundry “weird noises” that let you know you’re listening to experimental music, baby (the good stuff)… it culminates in a stimulating mélange, & then – silence. La fin. Where’s the uproarious climax? That was it, babe… she just has a heavenly touch.
So that’s that. That’s the write-up of claire rousay’s a heavenly touch for Mike’s Blog. I’m Mike, & I’m actually a nice guy. I got this tape in a package from Already Dead that thanked me by name & included a free bonus tape & a stack of download codes. The original pressing is out of stock, but there’s a second edition coming which you can pre-order at this link.
I got really drunk last weekend… all the wine combined with the clonazepam I take for sleep, made me black out & post nonsense on Twitter. The next day I wanted to avoid the brutal depression that comes with a heavy hangover so I took about 4mg of that aforementioned anti-anxiety / sleep drug. It felt good, so I did it again the next day. Well, I fucked up! Now my tolerance is too high & I’m not sleeping anymore!
I can’t explain it, but when I’m sleep-deprived, nothing hits the spot more than what I call “weirdo prog”. I started by scoping the first Suko & moduS albumwhich I felt was my obligation to check out seeing as I wrote a review of the sequel released on the man Larry Wish’s very own Bumpy label. That album scratched an itch I didn’t know I had. After I had my fill, I’d moved on to Not From My Come Fromwhich was in my collection on a whim since the other month. Hey, it’s kind of addicting to figure out the logic behind this maestro Larry’s idiosyncratic songs… the releases with “His Guys” always contain repeats of what’s available on his solo albums but with a band ensemble playing them they sound so fulfilling.
I have another sickness when I’m sleep-deprived. I spend money on music with wild abandon. Next thing I knew, I owned the entire Larry Wish & His Guys discography. Fable Table Cloth, available on Bumpy, is a live album. The energy is great. Opening track “The Designer” is a great song. “Calendar Year” is another great song. The final track, “The Man Who Even Has a Gun”, is something I heard on Larry’s Soundcloud account & it really impressed me with its cosmic nature. It rounds out a solid outing for “the boys”, that musical madman Larry Wish and… His Guys.
Okay folks I’m going to describe this music to you second by second. I’m about 5 minutes 40 seconds into the first track as I sit down to write this, but… there’s kind of bum-bum, bum, & kind of a, like, an animal sound, & then a goop… there’s a lot of animal sounds on this LP; other sounds too – one might even call them abstracted. I’m terrible at describing music, so I try not to in these write-ups anymore.
This vintage album will be reissued in the second half of May by Smithsonian Folkways. The composer is a woman, neglected by the history books, whose medium of choice was magnetic tape. I enjoy listening to compositions on magnetic tape, even though they’re often a little weird if you ask me… this technology stuff lets you create sounds that could never exist in the natural world. Hey! This artist is using technology to make compositions of natural sounds… the juxtaposition is 🔥 (I used technology to type that. You can incorporate emojis into your handwritten notes, but it’s a little silly).
The source material may be from this earth, but I feel like I’m in outer space listening to this. All this avant-garde music is always so serious… hey, Mike, why don’t you write up a song like “Rock Lobster”? Well you know what type of creature a lobster is, don’t ya dingus? That’s right, an animal – & this release has abstracted away sounds like that, for you to consider with some circuits of consciousness ABOVE those ones you use in terrestrial life.
Only serious thinkers need apply. The vinyl is available for pre-order here, or on Bandcamp.
Unseen Worlds has this album for sale on their Bandcamp in a deluxe 3xLP edition but I’m a little cuckoo, I went to Discogs & bought the older reissue on a “more focused” 1xLP – on transparent vinyl to boot! I didn’t save any money. I spent time a couple months ago trying to write up the sequel to this album which is the label’s namesake. I couldn’t figure out the words. Well, I like this LP. This is “intellectual” music… I think I want to be accepted by the intellectual crowd. Why? Well, I’m a “smart” guy, that’s a big part of my identity, & I value “smart” b/c it reflects me. But why do I want the acceptance of others? Humans are a social species you know! Let’s see you endure a few years of isolation. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry – I wanted my reviews to be more autobiographical but this is turning into my own therapy session… [Note to Self: don’t say you’re sorry.]
I LOVE the first track, “Patchwork”, & the more ambient compositions, like the epic title track that spans Side B, seem to presage the sounds that became possible on the other Laurie Spiegel solo work which Unseen Worlds reissued. Laurie Spiegel wrote her own music software in the C programming langauge. I wonder if she read the same tutorial by Brian Kernighan that I did… probably so! Hey, well, I can program & do creative stuff, just not music; I draw, or I mean I used to draw, & some say I can write… am I a kindred spirit of Laurie Spiegel? Maybe that all depends on whether I’m “intellectual” or not… I have recorded a song, & it was called “I Killed God With My Big Dick”. A year later a professor told the writer of that song he could probably earn a PhD in computer science if he focused.
This music is where left-brain & right-brain collide. Is that accepted science anymore? All that’s left is the whole brain, the ur-brain, & it’s ready to zap some sophistication into ya. Among my LPs of modern classical & everything adjacent, this one is treasured. “Where do I get it, Mike?” Scope it for yourself at the link that begins this post. The answer to your problem was right in front of you all along. You just didn’t see it…
I had pre-ordered the vinyl but this came out digitally last week. I was kinda distracted on first listen… my home office consists of a recliner & a laptop in the middle of a room about half the size of the studio I previously lived in. I have a desk where I put my record player & my tape player, both hooked up to the same $99 speakers I bought on Amazon. There isn’t much room for anything else. I’m not so certain it’s good to have zero separation between my work life & my home life. But I’m grateful to have a job that seems secure throughout all this. Last year I got an offer from a small company in Austin… at the time it was my dream destination. I wonder if I’d still be employed right now if I had gone that route.
This music is a heartache, & I feel somewhat healed listening to it. I’ve been having lots of experiences recently feeling healed by music. Technically I’m listening to this album on the clock. There’s no room to be emotionally healed on your boss’s time, if you’re going to fix yourself it better be to perfect your ability to produce eight hours’ worth of value every day! The truth is I’d be a little automaton if I could. I don’t know how others do it. Maybe my brain has ADHD, or maybe I’m just weird. I just get distracted. This music is transporting me somewhere else, somewhere far away from my paltry “home office” & a world on its back from COVID-19. I feel like Dorothy swept up in the tornado to someplace beyond the sky. The dissonance in Track 4, “What A Made-Up Mind Can Do”, is the sound of my little vessel crashing into Oz (hey, turns out later Oz is kind of a funky place…).
My Magic Dreams Have Lost Their Spell is a beautiful album in a world where beauty feels a little hard to find right now. It’s available through Bandcamp here.