There Is A Flaw In My Iris (12″/DL)
Don’t Worry Mother, Everything Is Going To Be Okay (CD/CS/DL)
Shimmering Moods Records
Despite the ecological hiccup I was taken aback back this new title, not because of the music, or the stunning visuals, but the title itself. As a gardener this is the second year I’ve had incredibly tall greens for the irises in front of the studio and around the house, and no flowers. I find the greens quite lavish, however, and the sound of Danish artist øjeRum (Paw Grabowski) follows suit.
The artist who has been quite prolific in only a short half decade has mustered quite a discography. Come to find out this is a reissue of his very first release, which gives me some perspective on his beginnings. Instead of his usual lengthy tracks, here we have a set of eight shorter pieces. He opens with the folky and melancholic Mist filled with twangy guitar strings and glassy tones. There Is A Flaw In My Iris has an innocence as well as foreshadowing as to where the artist might go in the future, but is wholly his sound, from the start.
Though a bit more topical in terms of instrumentation than you may have grown used to, by incorporating vocal treatments on Il y a I’m reminded some of the earlier work of someone like Tor Lundvall here. There’s a varnished haze of layers that’s a bit awkward, forlorn. Here we are primarily led by the strings of guitar and quasi post-60s moodiness (heard in the chords and dense glazed vocals on øjelåg and Picture). This is the type of record that displays an artist willing to experiment with lowercase shoegazers, take some risks with open melodies, and signs of future possibilities – which Grabowski has clearly gone on to do in the ensuing years. On the tracks When and the closing piece, Pristine, the atmospheres are less murky, a bit more shaped by his signature music box-like style. While this may not be the best of the artist’s work it is certainly a new voice in the variegated experimental scene. Still, it’s a nice, clean, fresh take on the dawning of his creative process.
On this recording øjeRum has split his paradigm in two, tracks that is, each with a running time of a half hour each. Don’t Worry Mother… opens as a moody (dour to hopeful) ambient piece, so elusive and glutted with open air drone. The artist manages to weave unto this mutation of particle textures an anesthetic, wavy melody that simply drifts about. This disc also marks the 100th release by the Dutch and always evocative Shimmering Moods Records.
Are these tapeloops? They sound as such, not quite repetitive, just finding a way to expand and broaden the mood here. The soundscape is softened by a gentle rumble, and perhaps filtered layers. This is a fresh blend of classical and modern techniques mixed with a core that will launch even the most hardcore insomniacs to a REM state. There isn’t much shift or variables here, just a perfectly quenching pattern that will hold you until it drops you into the stasis of oblivion.
…Everything Is Going To Be Okay asserts that now you are in this void frame of worry, all will work itself out. It’s the audio equivalent of meditative therapy, if you consider it from a practical level. This intimates the death of a loved one, presumably his mother. As one with an honoring relationship with my elder (now in her upper digits), I do not want to imagine the time coming to say goodbye – however, the cycle of life should be as graceful as this luminous piece of work by Grabowski, whose spin takes it sweet time to process the letting go. It’s a dreamy work that simulates a grieving conversation with a sense of hope, and somber condition.
Comparing/contrasting the earliest and the latest by an artist in one go was not something I expected to do, it just so happens that these two records, by two separate imprints are released one day shy of each other – and it made sense, they will to you as well. It makes you contemplate the span, the trajectory, of an artist’s breadth. Recommended listening, back to back.