Smelling the smoke.

Michael Pisaro/Taku Sugimoto 2 seconds / b minor / wave Erstwhile

In my apartment I can hear my neighbors walk across the floor, stub their feet on chairs, sing obscurely in the shower. I can hear the streaks of their hands against their walls. Against the ceiling. Against.

I’m tired, exhausted to the point of sinking, sinking through the floor, communing with basement cockroaches. I don’t sing their praises enough do I? Antennae conducting darkened symphonies for cobwebs, for shadows, for ice skates forgotten in boxes. I wonder how it is so easy for this album by Sugimoto and Pisaro to slip through the cracks of my exhaustion, as though some assuagement, perhaps — or a confidant. Maybe it’s better to describe the thing? It seems a fool’s game.

I suppose I could wax on about how the album was made — how these two compatible musicians recorded their parts individually, thousands of miles away — and how each track, 2 seconds, b minor, and wave were developed around the ideas of pulse, key, and wave respectively. And I could put some precedence to this form of recording, mentioning Yoshida and Nakamura’s Soba to Bara and Mimeo’s Sight. But it doesn’t really make any more sense of the music. It doesn’t make any sense to the feeling of it as I lay down in the middle of my floor and close my eyes, and make patterns in the carpet with my fingers. And I suppose I should explain the pleasing congruency of the potentials realized here. And then on to praise, congratulating the pair on 2 seconds, whose handclaps, sine tones, block thwacks create a ceaseless slow energy, a mixture of mundane and the unreal. But that seems too easy.

Because really, I’m tired enough to be slothful. And I do apologize for that, for the feelings b minor conjures as Sugimoto’s ambivalent, beautiful chords meander with but never over Pisaro‘s wilting, plaintive guitar. Because who cares about any of these platitudes ? Who cares that I can weave in and out of things here, and let the sound settle inside this place, where my neighbors seem to live, a floor up, a wall across. Coffee grounds between floorboards. And how these guitars sound like lost correspondence, of two voices entwined across one ocean, speaking alone in their living rooms, in their own heads, reading the same letter in different languages.

Questions one could ask about why, what, how, seem useless, knee jerk, assumptive. Is it always so important to ask questions? Wouldn’t be okay to simply sun on the beach of “Wave,” to bask in the recorded crash and tumult of ocean breaking on shore, to tan in Sugimoto’s amp hum? Here, allowing myself a chance to listen seems more important than the how and why right now. To doze. Could it be that they are as exhausted as I am? Hums floating through the room. Swelled tones bruising up under silent skin. It seems like a moment stretched, and caught for a time. Then let go.

And if I’m just mistaken in all this, braising in morbid self-reflection, I’d still like to be here right now. As it’s a quite a beautiful place to be. If just for a time.

My neighbor lights a cigarrette. And I smell the smoke.

For more information, background and ordering: erstwhile


2 Responses to “Smelling the smoke.”

  1. Excuse me, but I hold the copyright on the “I’m too tired to write” review…. 😉

    Great piece

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