The Magnificence of Memory

So, it was January of 2002, and I was thinking about Brian Eno after talking with Daphne about his wickedly brilliant book ‘A Year With Swollen Appendices’ and thinking about how to go about writing in this inquisitive yet decisive manner, when it was handed to me. It was the 18th of January, and the e-mail subject read “All For You” and led me to I followed the link, and was changed forever. I’d never heard of a ‘blog’ before, but this was not the first or last time Daphne hepped me to the latest progression in human communication. Eno’s questions were explained to me and more questions posed to me, and I still think about these questions  as the days go by. So eight years on, the two of us have conceded that I will never establish a blog of my own and that my wayward thoughts on the sounds I devour daily are better collected and saved than yammered about and then forgotten. Thanks D for creating this all for me and for inviting me into your world!

Timeless. What does this word mean exactly? A word that is used and has been used in the past. Most certainly in the future too. Does it describe something that is not immediately placeable in an era? Does it mean something born in the here and now will live forever? Does it mean that it may have never existed at all?

I present to you an album by a man called Mike Hadreas. He has a story that you will likely find attached to most reviews, attributing the fragility and sombreness of these sounds and subjects to his early experiences. I won't go into that now, because much like last year's phenomenon, Girls, the day to day these people lived through holds little relevance here, not so much as the music they captured and offer for us all to hear. 

Mike's debut album is called "Learning" and is credited to Perfume Genius.

I've already met with press describing this work as morose or confronting. I can buy that, but I also think if your the type that finds hope in being at rock bottom, when the only way to go is up, then this music will hold a beckoning sort of radiance for you. Everyone else? They’ll just have to use their imagination, and if they're lucky, they’ll see it too! 

It won't be too difficult with the abundant currents of glorious sound that make up of this set of songs. You will find chiming, hammered pianos among lilting orchestral groans and sighs, many a twinkling synthesizer sequence floating through. Mike's voice has a few key characteristics at play.  Many of the vocals are deftly double tracked lending an otherworldly quality to the floating tones and they wind around one another, at times exhibiting a lullaby type quality to it, as if he's singing in hushed tones as not wake you in the process. All the while you will find incredibly strong and sure lead performances that which his ghostly whispers play support. Much of the music is slow and languid and is much the aural equivalent of watching a ball of yarn unravel in slow motion.

Close your eyes and imagine Low playing through a bevy of their favorite Daniel Johnston songs. Imagine Prince as a lovelorn unicorn committing arcane catharsis to Tascam. Imagine a Chan Marshall and Bradford Cox realising a dream-pop doomed high school romance saga. 

To just engaging the imagination while this one spins will reward even the jaded listener with an experience visceral as it is challenging, coy yet stark and honest, 100% Mike's music. Highlights flow from beginning to end. This album breathes effortless creativity, seems more like an egg that's been laid than a mere 'work' of art. Clouds obscuring secret cities? This is easily the best thing Matador has released this year!



More information on Perfume Genius can be found:




Here is a link to a newly posted live session of Perfume Genius, performing much of the album for you to see and hear!