[a warm thankyou to sebastian krueger for taking the time to contribute to musicisart. aside from the guitarist for my brightest diamond, he has been working on his own project *inlets* and recently released a beautiful debut ep that may be freely downloaded at the friendly label luvsound. from the first listen, its quite easy to notice that sebastian truly shares in all that makes his creativity genuine, showing an appreciation dedicated throughout the use of colorful imagery and intimate sounds.]
Inlets may be my attempt at narrative sing-songwriting, but you’ll notice an at-times curious absence of linear storyline. Maybe this is a fault, but I prefer to write a good deal of music impressionistically. Although I sometimes include characters and events, I usually tend toward creating lyrical color schemes while maintaining some personal and intimate detail.
My friends at the label hosting my EP, Luvsound, talk about Inlets possessing a sense of space. I guess that this is true not only because I wrote and recorded most of it in the confines of a small Brooklyn bedroom all by myself, but because the music sweeps from sparse under-produced segments to much more expansive textures. In the context of the low fidelity of the recording, it makes sense that this music is perceived in terms of space.
But I also hope this “space” means the space between emotional and aural poles. I hope this music means something to those who hear it because, although it has its faults in production and even in message, it came from experience and intent.
A partially random assortment of art worth talking about::
A Fan’s Notes, by Frederick Exley is constantly on my mind. Although I am far from the athletic and macho main character, I sickeningly sympathize with the aggression and longing in this book. Most of us want to create something wonderful, something worth cheering, and that wanting is painful. Sometimes it does us in.
The Department of Eagles is my friend Fred’s band along with Daniel Rosen. A while back they released a really excellent album on a small label which I encourage you to purchase. Here, you may recognize Daniel’s truly admirable instrumental and vocal skills from the band Grizzly Bear, and Fred brings along a biting intelligence and intimidating lyrical prowess in addition to being responsible for the percussive ingredient. They are working on a new album I have heard which is truly spectacular. Their music continually and naggingly fuels my jealously.
Debussy, “Footprints in the Snow” and “Valse Romantique.” Really anything Debussy is worth listening to or talking about. But in particular, Footprints in the Snow has such a restrained quality, but wide harmonic scope, and the imagery is so palpable. I also love how he plays with the timbre of the piano: he voices chords so particularly and so colorfully (here often dark like soot).The latter points can be said about Valse Romantique but this piece is so epic and grand. It tears at me emotionally, and also wows me with technique.
Frontline, PBS. Its some of the most thoughtful and terrifying nonfiction programming on TV. You can learn regularly about how the deck is stacked against you, narrated by the most omniscient voice artist. Highly recommended.
Modigliani. I wish I knew more about visual arts. I’m regrettably fairly illiterate when it comes to painting and sculpture, but something in Modigliani’s work has always resonated with me. Perhaps it is because my father hung “Gypsy Woman” over the toilet in our basement bathroom. Her face seems slightly alien, and the tones are muted. I suppose we can all describe ourselves this way sometimes.
My Brightest Diamond, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth (forthcoming). Perhaps this is self-serving because I play in MBD and on the next record. But it’s all Shara Worden’s music. And while her current album is truly rocking and awesome and I dearly love playing it, there is something extraterrestrial about what she has in the works. So organic and textural. You can hear the hollowness of things in the way you can hear waves bouncing off the innards of a cello. Except those waves are heartbeats, inside a cello. Or something.
And if you are at all politically inclined, I encourage you to look into the ACLU among other groups. Now that the Dems have regained some control, it is important that they serve as more than a counterweight to the administration. We shouldn’t just stop the downward trend, we should begin to renew America.