Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Honest Thanks

During the few months that I made it back into the states in-between my ventures here in Korea, I was fortunate enough to spend time with my sister. She is fully aware of my affection for the music described here, and was kind enough to ask if 1) I was still listening to music that scared our parents? and 2) if I had any musical plans or direction in the near future? Out of her kindness she dropped me a line to a woman who she was working with over in NYC. She didn't have much more information at the time beyond that, but a month or so later I had an e-mail contact and some material on my plate.

Through a few good words from my sister, I was provided with the most recent project from a label. It's called Hljóðaklettar, the newest offering for my pleasure was called Rosa, and it's run by Sabrina Joy and Runar Magnusson. In our brief correspondence I revealed that I was doing some casual freelance music criticism, so I was pleasantly surprised that in the package was a multi-media project.

The range in artistic mediums made for a surprising change of pace. I initially went straight towards the music, since I feel the most qualified in this area, but also because I had dropped by the label website to check out what I might be store for. True enough, the offering dabbled in electronica across the board. There was some flickering minimalism on tracks like "Work," and "Gamelan Marimba Vibraphone" by Ilex, and cacooned break-beats on "Beforesundown" by Björk Viggósdóttir. "A Love Story" by Sophia Maj reminded me of a slow haunting pastiche of Zola Jesus. The track that really stands alone in style and energy was "Portal to Portugal," a piece of house shaking dub-step. There were only seven "just audio" tracks all told, but the music is just portrayed in other mediums.

In goodie bag of extras there's abstract music videos, like the swirling vortex "Window Flicker" by AGF, or the dead heat of Johanna Kristbjorg Sigurdardottir in her "untitled." The experimental artwork coincided perfectly on this project with the music, which makes me understand why the audio section was a little slim. Some of the pieces in the non-musical department are even more provocative. Birta Thrastardottir series of depressingly dark comics ended with heartfelt triumph of a mother and child found. Marit Victoria Wulff Andreassen's geometric shapes of ejaculating penises and a woman caressing a "vagina-in-breast?" Sabrina's has what appears to be a tissue paper torn in the shape of a crude face mounted on top of a TV screen. Like I said, this is not my area of expertise so I won't try to read deep into this.

I thought about approaching this offering from a variety of different directions. The difficulty of devoting a project to womens artwork, without falling into reproducing the pathology of gender restrictions. Or how producing this kind of multidimensional releases can be used to promote smaller labels to an audience with a broad sense of interest. Ultimately, Rosa is about the artwork that Sabrina Joy and Runar Magnusson love and are inspired by. I would like that thank them deeply for their kindness and graciousness.