Monday, October 5, 2015

Currently Listening 10/5/15


One of my favorite artists so far was to me a fairly recent discovery, an artist by the name of Aly Spaltro-- or more commonly known as Lady Lamb. She began making music in a small town in Maine, in the after-hours of a restaurant where she worked. Left to her own devices in the garage, she proceeded to learn as many instruments as it was possible to get hold of, and even made some home recordings until she was discovered by a recording company and moved to Gowanus in Brooklyn. I discovered her latest album about a year ago, and since then have been systematically going through each of her albums, one song at a time, moving on to the next song in strangely regular intervals and at the slow pace of about one song per week.

This is because you can delve deep into her songs-- her music creates a particularly stunning atmosphere, working with abstract lyrics to paint a rich and impressionistic backdrop containing many meanings and interpretations. Her work is categorized by many sources as surrealist, but this description is not exclusive to her lyrics but also in her musical and stylistic choices.

One of her latest videos, which includes a montage of real footage portraying a young filmmaker.

Her words are meaningful and capable of reaching the listener on many levels due to their artful vagueness. If you listen close enough to any one of her songs, it seems to animate and shift through a variety of different levels of meaning as you gain understanding. Perhaps this is why I have been so invested in her music for so long-- in my opinion, it imitates the style of the best surrealist poetry, in which the ambiguity carries you through several different levels of awareness.


The tactic most often used by Spaltro to express this artistic statement happens to be the comparison of lyrics and music, which at any point may be misleading. It is effective to both focus on the music individually from the words and to focus on the interaction of the two elements, because where her words alone would perhaps fail to get across a certain idea, the music of the turn of the phrase carries the inflection forward. For example, in the following song--

At some point during the summer I went back to her earlier songs, and discovered more understated songs in which she is less certain about her vision as an artist, more softspoken and understated-- and yet in my opinion no less powerful.

But eventually I ran out of songs to listen to. However, after the summer and a good part of the year spent almost exclusively playing and replaying her most recent pieces, I began to dig deeper and stumbled upon her original home recordings. It was inspiring to listen to her earlier works, and to be able to track her evolution as an artist-- to see the inception of the themes of so many of her latest works repeating themselves.

For example, the song in her recent album "Regarding Ascending the Staircase" is mirrored in the Bedroom Recordings as "Regarding Descending the Staircase." 

Perhaps, it is due to the uncanny ability to allow the listener to piece together fragments of sound, and to offer the listener freedom of interpretation and peripheral self-reflection, that her work has the potential to reach "some people" (as myself) so deeply. I love how each of her pieces of music follows itself into completion, going through a range of different emotions and telling a story, as though it is almost exhausting itself-- a tactic of which this following song is a prime example. It is deceivingly mellow, at first, and then stops very abruptly, cuts itself off in a perfect act of music working in tandem with lyrics at 1:55--

at the phrase "I'm as blue as blood before the blood goes red." It is a song that goes through several different musical ideas, tells it like a story. But I think her music is sometimes too intense to listen to all the time, or to see as less than a work of art, because it often seems to involve and reach a point of crisis. I hope that enjoy it too, but in any case I think she is an inspiring figure of an artist who is true to her vision and to her originality. 

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