The sound of a shrieking clarinet, chords being played on a piano, a conversation in the distance, all sounding like it’s taking place in another dimension. Not quite here, but not too far away either. If someone were ever to ask me what the soundtrack to the disjointed memories of a dream could sound like, I’d have to direct them to this cassette. While listening to this I can’t help but imagine myself leaving my body and floating through an apartment complex while observing and hearing different events take place… a small child practicing her piano, someone walking on the sidewalk below, an elderly man listening to old records, a bored housewife watching day time television, a telephone conversation, birds singing from a tree outside a window, children playing, clinks on glassware, bodies moving to and fro. All these things we take for granted but really create the soundtrack to our everyday lives. Isn’t this what John Cage and Pauline Oliveros were and are always talking about? That we need only listen to what’s around us to find music?
This is my first time listening to anything by Letha, I’ve been familiar with her work collaborating with her husband Dan for some time, but I’d never heard her solo work before and I have to say that purchasing this cassette was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in a while.
Art, and experimental music in general, currently reside in a very saturated environment where there are probably a lot more “products” being offered than there is demand for, and quality control is really lacking. A lot of people want to express themselves and have their voices heard, and that is absolutely valid, but one could also argue that maybe a lot of us should first consider refining our work, to hone our craft, have some sort of “message” or “emotion” we want to convey before we share and put our work out there for the world to see/hear/consume. I appreciate music when it creates a special moment, when it shakes me up, wakes me up, provokes a reaction and it’s been a long time since I’ve had that feeling. Over-saturation and overexposure simply make us less impressionable; it numbs our sensitivity and stifles curiosity.
This cassette reminded me why I got interested in experimental music in the first place, it’s really refreshing to not hear yet another arpeggiated synth, sustained guitar drones, or looped samples of deconstructed techno dance music, but instead to hear someone employ a lot of different acoustic and natural sounding instruments along with field recordings to create what in my mind is basically a portrait. Of what I’m not sure, because it’s a pretty abstract portrait and that’s exactly why I like it; it makes me think and feel, it doesn’t try to give me all the answers and define what is going on.
I highly recommend you get this here – http://robertandleopold.com/