face of the forest

Discoveries from the forest floor and beyond.

Dans Dans – I/II

by amy – October 8, 2017 in Music

i/ii - front coverDans Dans is a Belgian trio that performs  an experimental kind of instrumental jazz-rock with bass, guitar and drums. This album has been my sole introduction to their music, and it took time to grow on me, unveiling its beauty late one quiet evening (as good music often does) during what I realized halfway through was a cover of Tom Wait‘s “Yesterday Is Here.” And what a brilliant cover it is – deep, soft and rich. On this song and others, there is a lovely reverberant twang on the Western-flavored guitar with doom-laden overtones, calling to mind both the country/jazz/drone of Earth and the ambient doom jazz of Bohren & Der Club of Gore. But the pure sound of Dans Dans is less dark and weighty than those bands, and therefore appeals to a wider audience. read more

Mounika

by amy – October 1, 2017 in Music

mounika - how are you?I’ve really been digging this French artist lately. I listened to last year’s Seagulls a couple times and it didn’t really catch. It wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t make a tangible impression. At one point in passing I almost removed it from my playlist entirely. Then last week when I noticed this year’s How Are You? on Spotify, I played it, and the moment must have been right. It just grabbed me.

Maybe this album finally struck a chord because as an artist he has matured. Or perhaps his style has unconsciously grown on me so that this new release already sounded familiar. Or maybe it’s the déjà-vu effect his music seems to possess inherently. I’ve always thought it sounded like something I’ve heard before. I thought it was just tapping fragments of my memory, until my partner reported the same thing out loud when I played it for him. That’s when I started to suspect something like art.

This album is a sweet and dreamy collection of electronic trip-hop vignettes. It’s multilayered and richly textured. I love the hissy/scratchy worn-out vinyl sounds; they are like Q-tips gently swabbing the insides of my ears. And the samples are so well-chosen. There are some old French songs. He plays with vocal pitch a lot to good effect (try Love You Sweet It’s What I Do). This is music that really sets a mood. It’s electronic, but it’s very human. It’s great for working or quiet time at home.

Slowdive, a reoccurring dream

by amy – June 3, 2017 in Music

slowdive album 2017Slowdive have released a new album?? This was the first question that popped into my head when I heard the news. The second element of surprise was that it was their self-titled album! I found it on Spotify and put it on immediately, feeling a sudden nostalgic urgency for that old dream pop sound that seems to have disappeared into the mists of time. Bands like Ride and Cocteau Twins… where did they all go? I love that stuff – I need it! I pushed play on this new album, so oddly self-titled and so incongruously 2017. And then my questions were answered, because Slowdive delivered.

Slipping into that first song like a pair of warm, rediscovered socks, Slowdive launches into their first album in over two decades as if it were nothing out of the ordinary, just them, the same as always, a shoegazing quintet with a driven rhythm that sweeps you along, and pretty voices shining demurely through the electric haze. A pleasant curtain of shimmering reverb drapes over their entourage.

slowdive-young

Slowdive in the early 90’s

As always, their music speaks with yearning and nostalgia, like a forgotten childhood friend that comes looking for you in your dreams. It is sad, it is ageless, it is love. It’s propelled by an energy that will never run out. That is what Slowdive sound like to me. It seems fitting that Rachel and Neil, the founding members that sing often in unison on their songs, have known each other since they were very little.

This album plays beautifully from start to finish, in a short but perfect collection of eight songs. It ends contemplatively on a slower note with the repeated chorus, thinking about love… As unassuming as they ever were, this album comes and goes without even a hint of ceremony or explanation, but with the self-assurance that typifies experienced musicians who know what they want to say. People given to reflection will find something beautiful in Slowdive.

slowdive.bandcamp.com

Nature

by amy – January 19, 2017 in Words
Stormcloud Photo by Mike Olbinski

Photo of storm cloud by Mike Olbinski

Early evening.
As I left the house and stepped into the balmy air that was tingling with the announcement of rain, I felt at that moment that I wanted to live always outdoors.
To be forever in the presence of that mysterious creature, Nature.
She who is the source and the sum of all life.
I want to be there when she changes, especially in the evening.
I want to hear her music and her racket.
I want to see her wrath and her calm.
I want to be aware of her chaos morphing silently.
In her mystery I feel at home.

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