Saturday, June 18, 2016

Song of the Day #322 - matryoshka - Cut All Trees (memories of the tree rings mix) Remixed by world's end girlfriend

Oh my god this song

When the tracklist first came out for pseudepigrapha, I was pretty excited by a lot of things... Urlich Schnauss represented a new tier of associated fame, especially for Western audiences; Go-qualia, Anoice, and Aoki Yutaka are all consistently amazing; and the I felt extremely intrigued by the more mysterious others, just by their association with these artists. But nothing matched my hype of... well, to be fair, as soon as I saw that matryoshka themselves were remixing "Gentle Afternoon", I knew it was gonna be my favorite song of all time, and I wasn't wrong... but I was also extremely hyped for this track.

world's end girlfriend is like some sort of... 4-dimensional bismuth King Midas... I'm not sure if I can word it in any more rational terms than that. Or maybe it's more like... when you first see something like neural style, it's a level of complexity and innovation that feels like it couldn't possibly be machine generated, and yet, the results are so reliable, and so saturated into every aspect of the target, that it feels well beyond the realm of any human. So is weg man or machine? I can confirm he is man, because I have his signature on my package's custom's form, hahaha. O SHI-

Uh anyways, "Cut All Trees" was one of my favorite tracks on Laideronnette, a stirring and dramatic example of everything that makes matryoshka great... it starts with this minimal little piano line that carries us through a dark forest of strings, muffled wind. Around halfway through everything breaks into this whirlwind of smoke, as calu's vocals go pure and inarticulate, decaying to what feels like maybe the track end. But THEN, in one of the most beautiful developments of the whole album, everything blooms into this wonderful instrumental fugue... all the elements we'd seen before now arranged into a much more complex, delicate, formal arrangement... It's dramatic, almost cinematic, sometimes painfully evocative... especially this little moment at 4:42, when everything drops down, and there's almost a little "subplot" with the piano, and then at 5:00, when it completes on that simple major scale triad (I think I don't remember a lot of this stuff lol), it's so satisfying, so complete, just hands down one of my favorite moments in all of music. Just a fantastic song altogether.

Only weg's machine learning-tier remix ability could handle it. This couldn't be a project where you just bathed the existing patterns in your soundfonts. Nor could it be a simple melodic or rhythmic remapping. It had to be something that honored the complexity and scope of the original, while also, of course, evolving it such that the remix is warranted in the first place. It isn't just a task of creativity, but also one of maddening detail and thoroughness, where the motivating creative philosophies would need to be mapped to each element without any consistent system of mapping them... I honestly can't think of anyone else suitable besides world's end girlfriend.

The guiding philosophy seems to be the distorting emphasis of memory... this isn't about the cutting down of all trees, as is the original, but looking at the tree rings and remembering. The very start with that abrasive "audio contact" sound, is that the spark of memory igniting? Moreover, why is that noise so addictive? I think it's just cause it isn't a sound you can really capture in your own memory, you can't really "describe" it to yourself. And it feels like the next 7 minutes, in all their compelling beauty, are somehow compressed into those sounds, somehow plausible because of how "real world" it is, and thus "infinite"... I don't think I can explain this anymore.

Our journey through the dark forest has become even more abstract... signature weg ghostly vocal effects churning under calu, the strings becoming little slivers of themselves, and our guiding piano nowhere to be found... Everything has a Burialesque "drift" to it, nothing lines up quite right. Then at 2:00, there's this huge groundswell of bass... it's at once both the very "natural" rumble of a bass, but also a sort of unnatural "purity", or something beyond natural... the bass of space, maybe?? calu's voice feels so remote and isolated here, a fragile angelic arc overhead...

And then... silence! Oh man, I love a good silence. Even just the word silence. I think probably my biggst problem with my own fiction writing at the moment is my blatant overuse of the word "silence" lol. But it's the feeling of the silence on this track that I'm going for. And I think just the combination of the sound at the beginning and the silence here makes me think "onkyo", which, uhh, doesn't really apply, but it makes me think of that, and that's enough. I don't think it's a coincidence that the silence lasts so the shift that mirrors the one at 3:00 in the original happens at 3:00 in the remix, too... it really adds to this whole "sacred" feeling of the song.

This first major swell is very similar to that of the original, grounding us again in the original's song structure and sound, and thus peaking the anticipation for the grand fugue finale. My expectations on this were massive, but I was sold in the first instant... the base of the choral voices, providing again this "mythological memory" of the original... the way the melody is slightly varied, in a sort of empty counterpoint to the unheard original... the way the strings come back in unchanged, pulling at our memories... the explosion into pure weg-ism at 4:40, as all of his characteristic drum sounds and choral sounds are amped up... and then the pure drum roll right into the five minute mark... somehow, through all of these glitchy interjections and variations, we're locked right back into the anticipatory song structure of the original.

But the best part, oh my god, the best part is how the piano sound works all the way down in the register to where it was in the original, just in time for the "sub plot" I mentioned, which completes in just the same way, at 5:40, all of weg's influence falling away just long enough for that tiny triad, and then, in response, he cuts in his trademark "guitar squeal" sound, the one that's formed the tonal backbone for so many of his tracks, and it's just... so beautiful... in the juxtaposition of those two sounds, you get a microcosm of the entire dynamic of the remix, and the feeling of dialogue between the two artists, and best of all, you get this feeling of understanding... or at least, I get this feeling, cause I was so obsessed with this moment... that weg recognizes just how amazing that moment is, he's sort of just "tipping his hat" to them... I really can't describe how it makes me feel. It's at once this rushing confirmation that I, too, am grasping this, that my love isn't so different from the love of the artists, that sometimes I am united with these creators, my heroes, in how we engage with music, a sort of rushup warmth that seems to flood into me from the whole planet, stretching out from Japan and uniting with me at the antipode... but then the HYPE of the sound itself, that single noise that I associate with the starting pistol of so many amazing tracks, and the way the rest of the track, that intense "final boss" of weg whipping up a tempest Prospero-style around the waters of the original, seems all generated by that single interaction... I have no idea, it is beyond me, it is wonderful.

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