For You: Abstraxion – Just What I’ve Always Wanted

For You: Abstraxion – Just What I’ve Always Wanted

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Dear Aleks,

It’s been an oddly emotional Friday. I was making a track that seemed more on the level of “that’ll do” than anything particularly moving, yet my eyes welled up as the the syncopated tracks would interact in new and unique ways, producing sounds I could never have done without their serendipitous clashes and impacts. I highly doubt that the track will ever instigate the same emotions I experienced during its making; it’s a simple track laden with subtle micro-sounds that will fleetingly enter and exit as paths cross and diverge.

And then I watched the movie “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence” and I run into a concept that seems to always pull on the heartstrings: the beauty of the elderly person and people’s misperception that that elderly person was and always will be the Elderly, with that capital E. They remark about the gentleman having visited the same bar for sixty years, and then we find this man sixty years younger, drinking at the bar with his usual shot of whiskey witnessing a beautiful moment between the female owner and a room of penniless sailors on their way to war. We arrive back at his aged self, with the faint echoes of past joy still bouncing off the walls.

I wonder if I tear up at the idea that this could be the last time I could ever experience a small beauty in my lifetime. Even when I cry I have this feeling that I want to get it all out, as if I could manufacture more tears and emotion and extend the feelings of my catharsis. But then I lose the tears, and I cry no more. There is this emotional/locational return; am I leaving reality when my eyes water? It’s such a rare experience nowadays that I can only have fascination at my more extreme emotions; in the mediocrity that I live now I can only feel okay.

Love,
Aleks

Abstraxion – Just What I’ve Always Wanted

For You: 1991 – No More Dreams

For You: 1991 – No More Dreams

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Dear Anthony,

When I paired the artist name “1991” with the album cover, I tried to connect the dots on why so many 90s alternative rock albums had those super filtered-out images that would either depict the band members just staring at the camera somewhere outside or maybe just a child doing something childlike. My conclusion was that the filtering actually meant a little more to the musicians and the album cover artist; these images were developed manually, or more specifically, by hand. After fucking with the photo until it became washed out or somehow esoteric, the artist said “yes, this will do for the sound or soul of this album.” There was trial and error, and a type of curation.

Not to be nostalgic about those days, I think to the modern filtered-out images of band members and children: there a stronger lack of deliberateness; just like an Instagrammer will idly switch through the two dozen or so filters just to get the right tone for the square image, the “trial and error” instead becomes much more automated, and thus demoted to a less interpretive place within the viewer’s mind. I am cannot ask so much as to why the album cover’s photo was fucked up in such a way as it is as accidental as tripping over an image and its resulting look. I guess like searching for a keyword on Google and just picking whatever came up third.

Maybe in reality the manual and automatic processes are the same; they are still chosen to be suitable for the album cover and are thus curated in the scarcity of the singular image of the album itself. And maybe I am romanticizing the developing room and the sudden eureka moment that might have happened when the right image came into being. I must take my thoughts with a grain of salt, especially when I realized that “No More Dreams” came out in 2016, long after my rose-tinted ideations of 1991.

Love,
Aleks

For You: Jacques Greene’s “Afterglow”

For You: Jacques Greene’s “Afterglow”

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Dear Aleks,

Do you remember those distant and tired sounds that would waft out of the nearby dance club and reach your kitchen window? You could touch the glass and could feel the slight vibrations at 11 PM, though it wasn’t strong enough that your reflection would waver. Burial captured that feeling, the 6 AM, drowsy, pumped, exhausted, racing emotion that you can get as the music has stopped but your heart has kept going. But of course, Burial found a sadness in it, rather than an optimistic determinism. That could have been his downfall (if there are downfalls for niche electronic musicians such as him).

But Jacques Green brought this energy again; “Afterglow” isn’t aware that these feelings may have been experienced almost every Sunday morning at 6 AM, but that’s the magic: there in the wake of distance, you are really hearing something almost celebratory, reveling in the fact that you had experienced it, and even though it had ended, the heart will continue on to feel it, even after five days of that 9 to 5 job that you kept having to get to as you couldn’t retire that early. The heart went on after the physical manifestations died out hours ago. So try it out. You might enjoy an anti-Burial. Artful but so much more present in your emotions.

Love,
Aleks.

Check it out on Soundcloud.

For You: Lorenzo Senni’s “Persona”

For You: Lorenzo Senni’s “Persona”

Lorenzo Senni - Persona

Dear Anthony,

Persona nearly falls into the rave cliches that it is so determined to subvert, but I think the cheesiness of its sounds add to a soundscape that is honest in its simplicity. And really, it’s not nearly dance music: “Angel” utilizes dated 80s and 90s synths to imply dance music, yet it can easily be interpreted as concise ambient music. It has the capability to move people, yet demands nothing except engaged background listening.

Going back a track to “One Life, One Chance”, we find much more dance-like sounds, including a shrieking synth that desperately wishes to be the voice of Cyrus or Spears. But what is missing is the percussion, and what is missing is the build up. Instead we are left with the sinew and nerves of what could have been “electronic dance music”. There is a distinct deconstruction of the genre that deserves to be heard; it is an album that revels in what it is not; it is in love with dance but keeps it at an arm’s reach.

Perhaps I am overly influenced by the album cover, but Senni’s interpretation of “non-dance music” is in itself fetishistic: it revels in the delights of dance but just like someone who wishes to hold off the ecstasy of orgasm, it never quite gets there, where I and probably you believe it should be. Because arriving there would set it so far back, into something completely forgettable.

Love,
Aleks

Note for 2017: Music I’m Absolutely Loving

Note for 2017: Music I’m Absolutely Loving

  • Moody Coup by Co La (2013)
  • Motion Graphics by Motion Graphics (2016)
  • Too Many Voices by Andy Stott (2016)
  • Technoself by Deantoni Parks (2015)
  • Hard Hold by Jaala (2015)
  • In Plain Speech by Circuit Des Yeux (2015)
  • 55 5’s by Sporting Life (2015)
  • Nothing New by Gil Scott-Heron (2015)
  • FLANCH by FLANCH (2016)
  • In Colour by Jamie XX (2015)