(Songs for Charles Burchfield)
This is a fairly appropriate post for today, as, in other news, I have (finally!) acquired a new home and will be going through the whole moving process again over the next week, which – as much as I hate moving – is more of a relief than I can possibly convey.
That aside, I spotted this release on Bandcamp last week, and considering the various other Meiburg-associated releases – Buteo Buteo, The Golden Archipelago (Shearwater) and the s/t Blue Water White Death albums from last year – were all amongst my favourite albums of 2010, I couldn’t resist the lure of these two tracks.
Charles Burchfield, just for those who haven’t heard the name before (myself included, but I’ve been doing a little research), was an American artist born in 1893 (d. 1967). I didn’t know that I was already familiar with a few of his pieces prior to looking them up recently, so I have to say I love that music can lead to these other discoveries because the work I recognised have been pieces I’ve happened upon over time and thought were just beautiful. There’s been many more, though, that I haven’t seen before at all, and I’m truly enamoured with quite a number of them. Here is just one example of the wonderful art Charles Burchfield produced:
The following is an excerpt of the words on Bandcamp by Jonathan Meiburg in regards to the songs on this release:
I was invited to perform at the opening of the Whitney Museum’s exhibit “Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield” last year. I’d never heard of Burchfield before, but loved the whimsy, darkness, and grandeur of his giant watercolors, and wrote this pair of songs as an attempt to evoke some of his paintings in sound, since Burchfield often tried to depict sounds in his paintings.
Whimsy, darkness and grandeur are all things Jonathan Meiburg and co. seem to have a strong command on, and the result is something that actually feels a little at the mid-point of Shearwater and Blue Water White Death. The second track – The Moth and The Milky Way – reminding me occasionally of Song For The Greater Jihad, the lead single from Blue Water White Death. Each song is based on specific paintings, though, with the first track – Hymn To The Valences – based on Two Ravines and The Song of The Telegraph, while the second is based on The Sphinx and The Milky Way (pictured).
Meanwhile, Shearwater recently performed a 3-hour concert featuring tracks from The Island Arc (i.e. the albums Palo Santo, Rook and The Golden Archipelago). Now there’s a performance I would have done just about anything to attend, had it been within the realm of possibility. Ten tracks from that performance have been made available on Bandcamp as well, and while I haven’t grabbed them yet, I certainly will be soon.