This is a musicblog. Every weekday we post a couple of mp3s and write about them. Songs are only kept online for a short time. This is a page from our archives and thus the mp3s linked to may not longer be available. Visit our front page for new songs and words.

February 19, 2018

save myself

(photo source)

Dura - "Grace Church Road" [Buy]

Finally getting warmer here, it is above 0 degrees Celsius. We had a really harsh winter. like -20 degrees for a whole week or something during winter break.

It felt like working for exposure for a whole week or unpaid intern.

anyways, it was icy on the sidewalks. I did slip once late at night coming home from my studio. I managed to save myself from landing on my back like a triple axel of a figure skater in my head but probably i looked like a teenager in a mosh-pit, swinging arms frantically and wishing for people understand me better.

I walked home in a night listening to this song after that.

Posted by Mitz at 2:26 PM | Comments (6)

February 5, 2018


Glasses floating

Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel - "Absinthium".
Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel - "Serpentariae".

Atlanta's Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are a duet, a duo. Their principal instruments are theremin and lap steel. They are evidently well-named. But at the same time that name, for me, suggests an emphasis on virtuosity, musicianship, the unacommpanied gifts of its individual players. In fact, the music of Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel feels more to me about dissolving the individual, forgetting the maker. Scott Burland and Frank Schultz make weather. Both of their instruments are suited to this approach. Anybody who has seen a lap steel being played has probably experienced that sense of mystification: where is the sound coming from? where is it going? It's as if the lap steel player is using his instrument to conjure music from the room, out of bare air. A theremin can give a similar impression. The machine seems secondary to the sound, just accompanying paraphernalia. The term "ambient music" is most often deployed to describe music that's restful, drifting, slowly unfolding. Most of Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel's improvisations are this - but they're also ambient in a more literal sense. These recordings seem intimately linked to the spaces they were made in (or from) and, if the listener plays them at home - loud, on speakers - they get tied up in those spaces too, knitting into the paint on the walls.

Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel is also a cheat of a name because Burland and Schultz use other instruments, or use their instruments in ways that conceal their identities. "Serpentariae" is suffused with gongs, bells, reverberations. "Absinthium" is filled with the clarinet and saxophone of collaborator Jeff Crompton. Around him, Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel dream up clouds, aurora, sunspots, storm-fronts. They make weather overhead. Listening to compositions like these - music these musicians made up, in studio, somewhere far away - I am struck by what a gift they have. Not just that they can make weather, summon it from nothing, but that they can bottle it - like springwater, or earth. Sending spring or summer up from Georgia, to where we shiver in the cold.

[buy / Duet appear next month at Knoxville, TN's spectacular Big Ears Festival]


Max Cilla - "La Flûte des Mornes".

Meanwhile, there are other weathers. Purple ones, warm sun on frozen days, melting snow on mountaintops.


Posted by Sean at 10:26 AM | Comments (4)