“Where Do We Go From Here” by Stanley Brinks (& The Kaniks)
from Alligator Twilight (2012)
Stanley Brinks/André Herman Dune is far and away one of my favorite living songwriters. His work with his brother in Herman Düne* was fantastic, but it’s in his solo work as Stanley Brinks/AHD that he truly excels as a poet, musician, and iconoclastic visionary. His output is beyond any other artist in his field; plus, he’s known to record most of his records in a day or two, as well as play all of the instruments himself.
He’s important for more reasons than I care to explain. Just listen, read, learn, explore, wonder, listen, think, listen, read, listen, listen.
I’ve decided to finally, along with presenting his new record, take the time to host a proper retrospective. Most of his available solo records are placed below. Please take the time to enjoy this living retrospective (just click “Read More”).
Because I don’t know what else to do with this information: We had a brief e-mail correspondence going last year (closer to 2 years ago now, actually). This correspondence was supposed to be published in replacement of a normal interview. We sent back and forth a few times and then I completely forgot to send something back and thus killed the conversation. So, upon rediscovering these letters, I’ve decided to remove my questions and publish his half ([sic], as is, with no adjustments made to formatting or grammar):
“I’m kindof living in Berlin, that’s where i keep my stuff.
Been recording here a lot on account of that I’m not into any local scene here, but then i don’t go out so much, unlike most people here I’m into hanging out in the daylight.
Most of the time i write and play everything on the stanley brinks stuff. I like asking friends to sing on my solo albums though. New Yorkers most of the time.
I now have two albums with the Wave Pictures as my backing band as well. Old friends from England, great musicians. Both times we recorded everything live in an apartment in one afternoon.
Last year for a while i had a band with Freschard and Ish Marquez, a one tour thing. We called ourselves the Rock and Roll Shit and did a lot of hand clapping, wrote songs together and had lots of fun on stage. Mostly one guitar, three voices and some random percussions. Lots of flamenco table toward the end of the trip.
There’s nowhere I really want to call home. I have most of my family in France and Sweden, most of my friends in New York.The house of my ancestors that’s still standing in the north of Sweden feels like home in a way, but i wouldn’t want to stay there too long, it gets lonely. I don’t even speak the language anymore.
If home is where you can just hang out on the square and bump into old friends, I’d say New York is the closest. I feel good in all big international cities.
The past few days I’ve listened to Steve Lacy a lot. Something i don’t do often because it’s the opposite of easy listening, it constantly calls for attention.You hear a smile in his playing, that’s rare.”
Look below for the continued retrospective. This look back spans a highly productive 9 years, beginning in 2011 (Digs) and continuing in reverse-chronological order through to 2002 (Dies Of Old Age In San Fransisco). In total, this particular collection contains twenty-two (22) full-length albums(!), eighteen (18) of which were written, recorded, and released in a span of 5 years (‘06-‘11). To make these numbers even more incredible, it appears that I’m missing at least 3 albums** from this period (because they aren’t available through Bandcamp yet). This collection also contains his collaborations with his girlfriend, Clemence Freschard, sometimes under the name Kreuzberg Museum (a calypso cover-band).
I apologize for the image quality on most of the covers; it’s what was available. All of these albums are available for purchase in hard copy via b.y_ records. You should buy all of them.
“April Showers” by Mike Bruno (& The Black Magic Family Band)
from The Sad Sisters, which has been re-released by Haute Magie
Graveyard-folk that can only be called haunting; the above single is the opener, and also the closest to being a “love” poem. Mike Bruno and the rotating cast of supporters that is The Black Magic Family Band can currently be found drifting through New Brunswick. Haute Magie recently repressed this album on vinyl with new cover art. This is all I know.
I found it sonically fitting to put Mike next to Julie Byrne on the zine’s all-encompassing mixtape. I see how one could disagree with this aesthetically, and if this is so, please start your own zine/gallery and show me how you’d curate it.
my girl row along with me and all the blackbirds spinning around your head sing their song of rest is there nothing left? my girl, my girl hang on to your pearls
plant your seeds in may, they’ll grow up tall and straight put them in your hair my girl, my girl whats wrong in your world? my girl hold on to your pearls and row along the bends with me
This is an album of fading memory and lingering thought. This is an album of longing.
Julie Byrne’s You Would Love It Here is a noticeably personal piece that’s at times uplifting and other times harrowing to listen in on; it takes a certain intimacy to create such an expansive emptiness in only 5 songs, such a hollow life in such a small bit of space. I use descriptors like “empty” and “hollow” positively, not referring to a lack of something, but rather as embodiments of the distant space between your present state and the love you once had and lost. Other journalists have called this piece “pastoral”; I assume that to be an attempt at articulating the same haunting, fragile quality.
There is so much more to say about this; perhaps it would be more fitting not to.
The album has been released on cassette; this is the perfect format, lending a thicker quality to the negative space in which notes bleed. Solid Melts pressed a first edition of 50 copies, a second edition of 40, and has now announced the tape as being out of print. I bought the last copy. I apologize to the reader whose hopes of cassette ownership I just deflated. For the sake of context, the chosen single (above), a song that echoes achingly through my spine in the coldest of ways, is the first track of the b-side. See below for the (gorgeous) packaging coordinated by Drew at Solid Melts, with art by Thea Kegler. For the continued sake of context, this the same guy/label that released Bronson’s Paper Tusk, an album I obsessed over for months, and an artist I was eager to interview. Thank you, Drew; I love your work, the art you support, and the way you choose to present it. The Red Flag Family supports (and stands in solidarity with) Solid Melts. You (the reader) should too.
“Is it too early to talk about the best album of the year?
Yes, it absolutely is.
But this is one worth remembering. I can safely say that.”
That’s what I originally wrote, before saving it as a draft. I still mostly agree. The album is really good, but I secretly hope that this isn’t the single highest peak of music in 2012. What a gorgeous single though…
Also, (and let me preface by apologizing for being that fucking guy), doesn’t the poetic cadence and chord movement of “Hangman” strongly resemble that of Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”? Does anyone else hear that? Am I an asshole for simply asking?