Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Game Of Thrones Season 8 - End Game With Sinhala Subtitles

Flipboard

Flipboard

Jim O’Rourke - Sleep Like It's Winter Music Album Reviews

Jim O’Rourke doesn't much care for ambient music, so it makes sense that his first ambient album picks apart the genre and scrutinizes its attempts to produce truly structureless music.

Jim O’Rourke inhabits genres as different as Americana, pop, and guitar rock in order to poke holes in them from inside. His last proper solo album, 2015’s Simple Songs, tackled ’70s singer-songwriter fare with seamless orchestration and wry lyrics. On Sleep Like It’s Winter, O’Rourke changes direction again, adopting the tropes of ambient music to disseminate both criticism and nostalgia over the course of a single, stunning 45-minute track. The result is an ambient album about ambient albums—a study as effective as Eureka’s and Insignificance’s respective examinations of orchestral pop and rock, even though O’Rourke never opens his mouth to voice a jokey critique.

He doesn’t much care for ambient, as it turns out. (His first love, stretching back to early albums like 1991’s Tamper, was tape music; Michael Nyman’s Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond was a foundational high school read.) O’Rourke’s quarrel is with the genre’s purported absence of structure, a formlessness he sees expressed only through a narrow range of harmonies and sounds. It’s an understandable perspective for a musician whose first love was the avant-garde world of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, where every assumption about composing, instrumentation, and performing could be challenged.

So he’s made an ambient record, but in a way, all his own. Recorded for the recently launched Japanese ambient label Newhere, Sleep Like It’s Winter purposefully picks apart the genre and scrutinizes its optimistic attempts to produce truly structureless music. On its surface, the album resembles some of O’Rourke’s more spontaneous Steamroom releases (this spring’s Steamroom 40 was all live improvisation). In fact, he spent over two years making it, and the meticulousness of his craftsmanship seems designed to examine the very idea of structure.

Sleep opens with delicately stretched horns, which give way to a methodical piano line that wanders in and out of gradually sharpening drones with enough drama to discourage background listening. Put this on while you’re cleaning the house, and it will unsettle your subconscious; a focused listen, however, reveals subtle tension mounting throughout the piece. A conspicuous crescendo suggests that, even when working with such a vast canvas, O’Rourke never loses sight of its structural frames. Around the 16-minute mark, these sounds give way to silence, save for some buzzing cicadas and a few calling birds. For several minutes (though not quite 4:33), the environment surrounding O’Rourke becomes the only instrument, a solo of sorts that serves the structural purpose of bridging the record’s two halves.

If albums like Eureka, Insignificance, and Simple Songs feel connected by O’Rourke embrace of pop forms, Sleep finds its own musical touchstones in more abstract corners of his discography. The combination of horn drones and piano achieves the same anxious swell as “Our Exquisite Replica of Eternity,” the ornate opener to his ’90s duo Gastr Del Sol’s Upgrade & Afterlife (minus the staticky Kevin Drumm guitar solo. Later, he employs a bath of synths as euphoric as his computer-music classic I’m Happy & I’m Singing & A 1,2,3,4, as the composition gently dissolves over its starry second side. These moments suggest that much of Sleep’s “ambient music” comprises sounds that have always been important to O’Rourke—but, as is always the case on his albums, what matters is how and why he uses them. Even when occupying this new musical form, his creative ear for melody and harmony never feels limited by it.

The minimalist composer Morton Feldman once asked, “Do we have anything in music that really wipes everything out? That just cleans everything away?” His compositions—built from impossibly quiet clusters of sparsely played notes and sometimes running as long as six hours—are often cited as predecessors of ambient. But Feldman doesn’t seem to think there really is anything that “wipes everything out”; his pieces are some of the most meticulously structured and intricately notated in 20th-century music. O’Rourke, a perfectionist if there ever was one, offers a similar rejoinder to ambient rhetoric within Sleep Like It’s Winter’s expertly carved frames. The tropes of ambient music may be well worn, 18 years into the 21st century, but he navigates and challenges them enough to make the genre his own.

View the original article here

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Dell XPS 13 9380 (2019) Review

Dell's flagship laptop returns to us in 2019 with refreshed specs, a brand new webcam design and a cheaper model. We review the XPS 13 9380 in full.
Should I Buy The Dell XPS 13 (2019)?
The XPS 13 for 2019 ticks all the boxes. It looks great, the build quality is excellent, it’s nice and portable and has a wide range of specs to choose from.
While not a massive upgrade from last year's model, it’s had some solid refinement including getting the webcam back into the top bezel and also introduces a more affordable Core i3 edition.

Huawei P30 Pro Release Date, Price & Specs Rumours

Huawei's MWC press conference didn't include an announcement of the P30 range. Instead, it will hold a launch event in Paris at the end of March. We round up rumours, speculation and more on the new Huawei line-up, including the expected P30 release date, price and specifications.

Samsung Galaxy A30 Review: Hands-on

The Galaxy A30 might be one of Samsung's best phones at an affordable price yet. Find out why in our hands-on review.
Should I Buy The Samsung Galaxy A30?
There are still details to iron out and features to road test in the real world, but the Galaxy A30 could be a great phone for anyone wanting a nice Samsung without spending too much.
This could be up there with the excellent Moto G7.

2019 Acura ILX Review

LIKES
Feisty engineGood transmissionLots of safety techInexpensive luxuryDISLIKES
Humble underpinningsLack of head roomCarPlay, Android Auto not standardA-Spec isn’t any sportierThe 2019 Acura ILX delivers some luxury car goods, but we’d spend our money on a loaded-up Honda Civic instead.
The 2019 Acura ILX is like a fresh college grad ready to climb the corporate ladder. It’s outfitted in the right duds, but its rough-edged past can show through.

Logitech G935 Review

It has the look, but does the Logitech G935 offer enough to be one of the best gaming headsets on the market? Find out in our review
Should I Buy The Logitech G935? The Logitech G935 offers just about everything you need from a high-end gaming headset; a gorgeous design, impressive comfort and accurate spatial audio to pinpoint the direction of sound, giving you an edge in online gameplay.

Like Fan Page