It’s a foggy day and for some reason that’s perfect for today’s little obsession… this started last night as Baby & I chilled out in the studio on our computers while giving this a nice little whirl. We were enjoying it so much, that I ended up throwing one of the songs, her “cover” of “Animal Collective’s “My Girls”, on the Facebooks or Twitters last night, if you were on the intertubal world wide highway of superawesomeness you’d have seen I gave a little hint of what was coming! Yeah, today it’s the beauty of East Of Eden by Taken By Trees that’s drifting me away, to a very distant land (literally)…
I know I don’t usually quote the write-ups for albums but I think with this one, it really helps to set your mind up for what you are about to hear… From the label or something:
Victoria Bergsman wanted to travel to record in a mysterious, relatively uncharted area avoiding the usual clinical studio experience, which she has always disliked and found to be an uncreative environment. She chose Pakistan. The rhythm, drums and flutes of Pakistani music had long captivated Victoria and this, coupled with a deep admiration for her favorite singers Abida Parveen and the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, helped her choose Pakistan as the place to record her new album. Another attractive factor was her interest in Sufi musicians who play in order to enter a trance like state, using music to transport themselves to another time and place.
Victoria is one of very few Western women, if not the only one, to record in this region, and the bureaucracy, cultural differences and prejudices she had to overcome to see this project through are almost beyond belief. It’s therefore little short of a miracle that this album was recorded at all. The new album will be accompanied by a short film that documents the recording.
And here is that short film…
Now, she doesn’t have the best opinion of recording studios and that’s fine, to each their own and whatever works, right? Some people like the isolation of a studio or basement or whatever to allow their thoughts to flow undistracted, others need their environment to bring their thoughts some clarity. So, she heads out to Pakistan, recording half outside, half inside, replicating a makeshift studio set up, to the point where she locked people in rooms to isolate the musicians and record each individually? Hmm… Well, like I said, interesting, and whatever works!
And man does it. I know we often talk about being transported to different times and/or places when we listen to music, but rarely do we mean so literally. Victoria genuinely pulls us into Pakistan, but instead of just plopping us down without a map or guide, she brings herself along, merging the two worlds for us into something simply beautiful.
A casual listen might send you down some new age path, like you are walking into some incense saturated hippie bongo store where they sell organic twine or whatever. You know what I’m talking about, where their #1 selling item are those Native American print dresses that college “hippies” wear for days on end…
2 for $10! Back in college I had a crush on this hippie-quasi-Hasid girl that wore these constantly (oy vey, indeed!) but I’m digressing (again, as always)….
But go deeper, listen just a wee-bit harder, and you’ll find yourself not only in their world, but her world as well, rich and impeccably woven together. Warp & weft, interlacing together into a beautifully decorated & ornate plainweave fabric.
In the video, she says people ask her if she thinks she’s brave? She wonders herself if she was brave or stupid? Questions like that are kinda pointless as you can only answer them in hindsight. If she had gotten hurt or worse, maybe it was stupid, but she made a beautiful album, so maybe it was brave? No clue, but I do agree that making yourself uncomfortable is important, it’s only when we are uncomfortable, when we suffer, struggle, get hurt, that we are able to push ourselves and truly learn & get better (there’s a cycling metaphor in there too). Victoria made herself uncomfortable, and in the process made a stunning album.
I lost you in the crowd
In an unfamiliar town
They found you near the river
Where hardly no one goes…
Ah, and a video for ya! “Lost And Found” from Open Field…
nice! And, not really a video, but her cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns & Roses..
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