The Blues makes us aware of how the universe perceives harmony through our ears. Its “source material” is not so much sadness, but a universal alienation. Everyone fears loneliness from different directions. Handy’s song says to me, “There’s no use for home where you always lose who you are,” which was the launch point for my recording. Suzassippi lends wonderful visual, grounded context to all the tracks she highlights, and quotes me at the end of her article.
Back a number of years ago, I first read about where the Southern Cross the Dog in a Farm Bureau magazine quiz. I had never heard of it, and it was an intriguing story about the town of Moorhead and the junction of the old Southern Railway system and the “Yellow Dog”–commonly thought to mean the Yazoo Delta Railway.
Winner: Westy Reflector cover of Yellow Dog Blues. Of it, the judge Marc Anthony Thompson said “I just wanted something that I really liked to listen to.” Westy Reflector said “no one in the story is in a fixed place” and “blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material.”
My faves: All of which, “I just really liked to listen to.”
Challenges like the blues cover initiated by Studio 360 have a lot in common with the Disquiet Junto: open calls based around a specific prompt. I’m always on the lookout for an external project that seems like it would be fun to put forward to the Junto, especially a project where the Junto’s interest in abstract sound might provide some unique contributions. This particular Studio 360 project seemed especially appropriate because of the sense in which the blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material. The blues, like other forms of folk music, is a source of inspiration for the Creative Commons, and this seemed like a good time to make that connection. That connection is emphasized in the Studio 360 broadcast, when it’s mentioned how in the blues “lyrics are passed form person to person, generation to generation.”
If noise music is ambient music turned up loud, then shoegaze is ambient music with a beat. Not just any beat, mind you, but a beat that emerges from the ebb and flow of the underlying drone, a beat that recognizes the rhythmic content in the flow of the drone and that latches onto it, building a hard lattice that supports the seemingly ethereal initial audio. It traces that underlying form, a cloud fitted with an iron scaffold. This is what happens in “Prologue: In Recollection and Amazement,” the first track off the new album from Westy Reflector, titled Transient Lines and available at bandcamp.com. The initial glisten, with hints of Robert Fripp’s tape loops, hovers like a thick cloud, builds a pulse that then reveals itself as proper drums, playing along in stereophonic splendor. What makes this more than a matter of accrual, of layering, is that the glisten itself has a reveal — slowly, for if anything this track embraces its placid approximation of momentum, the hazy original sound acknowledges that it is produced on guitar, and more familiar chiming, ringing, strummed chords kick in.