hallock hill: the union / a hem of evening (mie)

i seem to gravitate towards certain kinds of records (or certain kinds of records gravitate towards me…) at particular points. not so much label or genre, but more a convergence of ideas, where these intuitive concentric circles of what i transmit and what i consume overlap.

there’s a fair bit of ephemeral intersecting (and intersecting ephemera) with this and a whole bunch of recent listens, particularly the ix tab album. not sonically – they’re very different sounds – but thematically: like they’re ripe with ghosts and land and memory.

i’ve described them as stories or folk tales, not in the sense of words or narrative, but as concepts passed on, renewing, reviving, warming the blood of old things. illustrations maybe. a montage of people and places, painted with strings. pointillist constructions from layered notes. a synesthesia of sorts: colours, images, faded pages from books, music, conversations, faces.

not as simple as creating, but also representing the abstract, the personal; a becoming of sorts. music as channelling. an osmosis that takes place for musician as much as listener. same things i dig about richard skelton. improvisations that bring up things from the subconscious. songs encoded, an encrypted mythology of who’s where’s why’s and what’s, as i almost described bregnut. somewhere between pareidolia and psychogeography. same applies here.

it’s all semi-unknowable but you can get a sense of it all. bleached-out polaroids transmitted, malleable, moulded. the past/present/future in one moment.

dawn carriage: first light. or no light at all. hazy trees across the street and a power pole. its transformer dangling. slow movements of what. no one is thinking. sloped ceiling skews the room. or the room skews the ceiling. distant water dripping in the kitchen sink. unfixed. arm sounds. floorboard sounds. intervals. a filtered truck passing down the street. not awake but awake.

plenty’s been better said by others already about the union so i won’t go into it’s nooks and crannies. a hem of evening feels much more physical. less of those ectoplasmic links to the past. it feels much more corporeal, more physical. sidestepping any reference to fahey, the union brought jandek to mind. a hem of evening has something of an orcutt vibe to it. that sense of one man, one guitar, one moment and nothing else. there’s not the same tension, or running-away-with-himself out-of-controllness here though. an exploration rather than spasm. unpicking knots of notes rather than tendrils entwined, devouring themselves. arpeggios unfurling rather than piling up. there’s space to move, to breathe, to look out. and this seems to be the difference between the two records. one tangled/struggling with the past and one accepting of it.

putting all these words aside, it feels good to be reminded sometimes of the simple joys of music. when it’s reduced to its essence. when it’s open. when it’s shared. when it’s not just an intellectual exercise (which is cool, sometimes) but is also emotive. when less means so much more. when there’s little distance between audience and artist. when it’s unposed, unforced.

hallock hill / mie

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