Sparkle Division - To Feel Embraced Music Album Reviews

After spending decades creating music out of undiscovered noises, the avant-garde composer lets his hair down on this joyful, funky release.

Disintegration, decay, black holes… these are a few words that might spring to mind at the thought of ambient composer William Basinski, who has somehow made music from all of the above in the past few decades. Two words that probably wouldn’t? Sparkle Division. The unlikely moniker brands Basinski’s creative partnership with his collaborator and studio assistant Preston Wendel. Basinski and Wendel have spent the past four years conceptualizing and recording their debut album To Feel Embraced, and the result is a heady cocktail of free jazz, exotica, dub-lounge, disco, and just about every genre that could be described as “vibey.” Conceived and largely completed in 2016, Basinski and Wendel paused the album’s release due to the onset of a bleak political climate and ongoing environmental catastrophe. But now that things have become inconceivably worse, Sparkle Division figured “fuck it.” To Feel Embraced has floated in like a Golden Record from a distant planet, where things are relaxed, joyful, and funky.
The star of To Feel Embraced is Basinski’s saxophone, which the composer picked up again following Wendel’s persuasion. Known for his ambient masterpiece The Disintegration Loops, in which the record’s sound is derived from the continual decay of magnetic tape strip, Basinski with a saxophone feels like a white-coated scientist ditching his lab to ride a wild horse. He paints freely with his instrument, unbeholden to the confines or high concepts of his previous work. You can glean from the song titles alone that Basinski is having fun here. On “Mmmmkayy I’m Goin’ Out Now and I Don’t Want Any Trouble From You!” Basinksi’s relaxed phrases melt into a codeine calypso fortified by canned strings and sparse percussion. He is similarly lax on “You Ain’t Takin’ My Man” and “For Gato,” a pair of lounge lizard ballads seemingly born of otherworldly settings; the former could score one of David Lynch’s seedy Twin Peaks scenes, and the latter sounds more akin to Flying Lotus’ spacious, astral jazz.

To Feel Embraced is not a project that promotes stasis in any way shape or form—Sparkle Division are far more interested in presenting you with an assortment of vivid scenery. In addition to their flirtations with lounge noir and celestial jazz, Basinski and Wendel dabble in swinging big band (“You Go Girl!”), new age (“To Feel”), and vaudeville (“Queenie Got Her Blues”). “Queenie Got Her Blues” features vocals by Leonora Russo, the late Queen of Williamsburg who died in 2016 and was mourned by locals across the borough. On the brief track, Russo sounds like she’s leading a ragtag marching band, singing and laughing through a tin can while her disciples back her with spirited brass. It’s a sweet and affectionate send-off from Basinski, who referred to Russo as “my Brooklyn mom” (Russo is the stylish nonagenarian gracing the album art, decked out in shining accessories and red lipstick).

“Oh Henry!” is another tribute, this time for the late avant-garde jazz bassist Henry Grimes who died in April. Basinski’s simple, clean saxophone passages are chopped with rattling snare fits and unexpected, staccato bass rhythms, which demonstrate Grimes’ unique command of the instrument. Displaying his technical proficiency on the track was not Grimes’ only priority, he was also concerned with the song’s practical application. “Lotta babies gonna be born from this one,” he said of the track prior to his passing—another indication that To Feel Embraced is an album of serious artists making music that is more concerned with immediate joy and emotional exploration than decay or deep space. After spending decades creating music out of undiscovered noises, William Basinski lets his hair down on To Feel Embraced.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sparkle Division - To Feel Embraced Music Album Reviews Sparkle Division - To Feel Embraced Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, August 22, 2020 Rating:

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