on life, music etc beyond mainstream

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The Conviviality of Solitary Games


When it comes to autumn, and winter still months, or a cover, away, journalists and music lovers take a deep breath looking at the records (so far) that do not only turn to be part of the annual magic list, but have the potential of becoming life‘s company. In regards to song albums, I have the luck to now have heard my stunning „quartet of song albums“ in its entirety, everyone of them being a challenge and a reward.


September songs, October songs, autumnal they all are in certain ways. And lifers, for sure. IMO. And though I am obliged to keep my reviews unwritten and unpublished till the week before the albums‘ release, it is easy to name them, realizing some quite great songworks didn‘t make it to my dozen albums of 2022. But here, the soulfood collection, a labour of love each of them. 


One thought beforehand: don‘t believe anyone telling you these albums are too far out and not easy to approach. The only requirement: open ears, time, time, time. And quietness. And not thinking of the good old 70‘s! No jukeboxes around anyway! Bill Callahan‘s work may be his quietest of all, but a whole lot is going on between acoustic strumming, words delivered with measurance, and delicate arrangements – all flirting with the elemental, and reaching out for the deep.


Lambchop‘s album (the double vinyl comes along orange-marbled) may even appear stranger than the enigmatic brilliance of   „Showtunes“, but it is an equally shining star. More cinemascope, but the same degree of little gestures, discreet offerings, slow motion observations. Profound music of highest order, and food for thought.


As is Brian Eno‘s trip to the stars, not forgetting all things lost in the fire of our lives (as far as we can remember). Sometimes, from a distance, everything (losses first, and hands still to hold) falls into place.  An hour of true vibrations! No catchy songs, no singalongs, no fairytale searches of parallel worlds, no hooks, no future evergreens, oh, hold on, in their own peculiar way these songs which could be coined as modern day lamentations, a collection of future „everblues“ at least, striking quite a special, different note, corner in Brian Eno‘s song life. The album is haunting, uncanny, ethereal, anti-nostalgic, lost in space, and, simply said, beautiful in a dark way.


And, the only work available today and for some time now, waiting for you at your local record store, is the „retro existential wonderland“ of Father John Misty‘s double album „Chloé and The Next 20th Century“. Four impressive song albums in a row, and a great companion to it, another autumnal album without songs sung or spoken, Dutch pianist Wolfert Brederode‘s awesome „Ruins and Remnants“, coming later this year, a lifer, too, with piano, percussion, a string quartet. And Manfred Eicher.

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