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Deep Voices #57
The bell keeps tolling
The bells that open this week’s mix serve as either a welcoming or a warning. They ring an unlucky 13 times, backed by the sound of heavy rain. Are they exiling you from shelter? Or directing you home during the storm? The song’s general unease doesn’t bode well for comfort. But it is a powerful, beautiful song. Danish producer Ryong composed the music and it’s the voice of Eva Tind, a writer and their mother, that we hear speaking poetry in an impassioned but flat tone across the piece. “The world is yours and I am lying here in the grass listening to the silence,” she says, while we hear small percussion gallop forward. This is about the best representation of successful parenthood I can think of.
I did not intend to think about Renzo when making this week’s Deep Voices, or to write about him now. But as I’ve listened to this song, I take in snippets of lyrics that both remind me of him and remind me of the future I have without him, a fact that every day I have to relearn. “An illusion that sprung from the collective imagination that one child can replace another,” Tind says, then narrates a scene of one child living the life of another. “Living in her room, with her parents, eating off her plate, wearing her clothes.” It makes me think of when people ask me if Allegra and I want to have children in the future, which is a question that I think is probably not something they should ask but I understand why they do. The answer is yes, we do. I loved being a parent, being a father. As of now, however, my understanding of being a father and of being Renzo’s father are the same thing. I can imagine loving another child, but I have never done it. My friend, who has two children, told me once she couldn’t fathom, before her second son was born, that she could love another child like she loved her first. But it was automatic, she said, her heart grew to the size it needed. Or maybe reconfiguring is a better way to put it, like a balloon expanding. Her sons are so different, her first a sweet and serious boy, and her second a big goof. They look so similar. One has not replaced the other.
The World Is Yours is the name of the EP the song is taken from. The world was Renzo’s, still is. I was happy to give it away. There’s another line on the song that I like: “Things are not lost in a fire, it is just no longer visible.”
In addition to Ryong and Tind’s track, the next two songs represent a three song block of new electronic music. Rroxymore is a prolific producer and astute user of percussion whose new EP, ‘I Wanted More’ is likely my favorite of her work. I included the title track, which has a bit of a throwback feel to 10 or so years ago, when UK dance music often included chopped up loops of sampled R&B vocals. Think James Blake’s early songs, or Jamie xx’s. The producer Deadboy, who now records under his real name, Al Wooten, was a master of this and when I worked at The Fader, I wrote about his new music on our blog so frequently I remember someone actually commenting and telling me to stop. The sound was largely abandoned as those producers’ skills improved, and they didn’t need to rely on lifting the vocals of others for pathos. Rroxymore’s skills as a drum technician are impeccable, and the vocals used here (and elsewhere on the EP) are sensual, ecstatic. The rhythm feels a bit like a countdown clock for a drop, which arrives not in the form of a overly climatic wobble but in an exhale, as the drums relax into the pocket. The elements of the song could have made it mushy, but it remains stark and crisp. An immaculate production.
Jamal Moss, on the other hand, is not necessarily a producer I would call a perfectionist. Under his own name and his pseudonym Hieroglyphic Being, he has a rapid rate of production, and his song structure is not often the main attraction. What is? At the risk of sounding corny, please believe me when I say the thing that keeps you sucked in his vibe. If you haven’t ever heard his Sample/Pattern mix, go listen now. The entire thing feels like it was recorded at the bottom of a well. I was legitimately shocked when I heard the original recordings of a number of the songs on this mix, that they were so…normal. Moss’s versions made them strut and wiggle. Most of Moss’ music does that as well, and when he hits, the results are unique and outstanding. (I included one of my favorite tracks of his, “Red Notes” on a mix a year or so ago.) “The Lust With-IN,” the leadoff track from a new compilation of songs floats in a pool of bliss, a low and slow synth underpinning to a truly divine noodle sesh. It’s also played on the keys, but it almost sounds like he’s reimagining a guitar solo. If you’re familiar with side B of Manuel Gottsching’s E2-E4, imagine that, very loosely covered. I feel fairly sure Moss is the kind of guy who doesn’t wear shoes much. Music like this gives you a hug.
I get a lot of music recommendations from my friend Sam Hockley-Smith. We worked together at Fader for years and still send each other songs. I recently revisited a recommendation he made me 11 years ago. Sleep ∞ Over, the solo project of Austinite Stefanie Franciotti. Sleep ∞ Over is appropriately dreamy for its name, with a washed out beat and unintelligible, hazey vocals, a sound that probably qualifies as what was then being called “chillwave.” Franciotti was a part of a group of musicians all making similar sounds in Austin at the time, including the group Survive, who would go on to compose the Stranger Things soundtrack. Sam was obsessed with these musicians’ slow rolling sound and went down to Austin in spring of 2011 to report on the city. I really enjoyed revisiting his story. Read the whole story if you get a chance, but at least read the last little bit about the scene at a secret skate spot. Nothing says bygone youth better:
The sky blends purple, orange and baby blue. No one really does any tricks, instead choosing to surf the cement on wide boards with big wheels. There’s a different kind of noise those wheels make. It’s gummy and smooth, and the gravel clicks. Franciotti takes a breather next to the gradually rising pile of beer cans. Grace is doing runs over and over again, and Jenkins is off in the distance, right on the horizon line, his body a single, calming totem guarding the ditch from the wild nothing that stretches out behind him.
Finally, I don’t have too much to say about this mix’s wonderfully shaggy closing track by Hash Jar Tempo, the short lived group made up of the members of longtime Philadelphia psych rockers Bardo Pond and New Zealand guitar icon Roy Montgomery. But I do want to point out that their name is an pun on the name of legendary German krautrock group Ash Ra Tempel and I find that really funny. It’s nice when people don’t take themselves too seriously.