Singles are not much of a commodity in the Electronica/Ambient/Drone/Modern Classical/Insert Genre Here, as they are for say, Hardcore Punk. The artists and labels tend to look to full lengths or Ep’s and, if releases are smaller, they usually are stand alone ones. That is why this digital single from Slowcraft Records artist Anne Garner is interesting, because unlike Soundcloud tracks, this is released like singles are traditionally issued for major labels – to promote the forthcoming album.
The album in question “Lost Play” is due out on June 8, while this double A side featuring the track “Not Home” and it’s attendant remix by prolific Iranian sound artist Porya Hatami was released on May 11.
To quote the label: “Devotees of her strange, seductive melancholy will be beguiled once more again by the song’s signature union of disembodied sadness and reassuring intimacy. Warm waves of electric guitar and synthesizer cradle glitchy, restless percussives, the soaring silvered pedal steel of Jack Hayter (Hefner, Dollboy) and a lyrical message both beautiful and hard to hear”
“Not Home” I come into this with little exposure to Garner’s voice. With previous work she has garnered (pardon the pun) praise from sites such as Fluid Audio and Stationary Travels. The track opens with ambience mixed with sci-fi sounding electronics, glitches and melodically toned guitar before Garner’s vocals arrive with an understated and gentle but passionate feel. It’s refreshing that you can pick out her accent (especially on the word ‘come’) which gives her an authentic feel rather than a generic sounding voice. The song lyrically, is a bit morose about someone leaving another person’s life, but Garner reigns it in as not to saturate the track with melancholy. The pedal steel guitar of Jack Hayter is a nice addition as while it could lead the track in a country influenced direction, the way it twangs and bends the sound, it does so in an ambient fashion. Layers of vocals and guitars add to the flow like feeling of the music pushing the early electronics deeper into the mix only to return once more towards the end.
“Not Home (Porya Hatami Remix)” I would suggest ‘reworking’ or ‘re-envisioning’ instead of ‘remix’ such is Hatami’s stamp on this version of the track. Little vocally is left and what is included is more like sound snippets or small pieces of phrases, rather than extended sections of singing. The track begins with snatches of the electronics, ambience and flickering electronic sounds with hints of the guitar melodies included in the original. The pace is slower which allows for further ambient progressions and the removal of vocals places more of an emphasis of the music. The guitar parts in particular feel more pastoral and the electronics that largely existed on the fringes in the original have a more central position. By cutting up the vocals into sections it re-enforces the essence of the song and places emphasis, for example on the tracks title.
Anne Garner is no stranger to remix work as her last album (also on Slowcraft) “Be Life” had its own remix compendium in “Be Life Relived”. As I mentioned before of my lack of exposure to her music, I am unaware of her style(s) so I can look forward to her next album fully unencumbered.