Reviews and pictures from Sietse's record collection
Since the first time I heard Nicholas Szczepanik in 2009 with The Chiasmus (SRA / Basses Frequences) I have been following his music closely. With albums such as Dear Dad (Goat Eater Arts, Basses Frequences, 2010) and his Ante Algo Azul series (self-released, 2011) he managed to receive quite some well deserved attention.
We Make Life Sad is the first vinyl LP I have heard from him (I am still waiting for his first The Truth Of Transience (Isounderscore, 2011) ) and it again shows a shift in his approach to music.
Szczepanik already showed to be a skilled drone and soundscape artist, but here we get treated 10 short pieces that are totally without drones. The music is even rich on melodies. The first idea when listening to the music is that of forgotten ballroom music like we know from The Caretaker, but after a few spins also gives away other sounds. It would not surprise if over 50% that we hear are actually not old records, but are the own compositions of Szczepanik (something I am never sure of while listening to The Caretaker).
The 10 tracks seem to tell a story about different stages in life. Stages that sometimes flow soft and easy, but on others are dark and melancholic. The degradation of old recordings is a nice technique to apply to this subject because, specially with old vinyl you often get all the rumble and scratches from the vinyl added. Szczepanik seems to amplify this by creating small loops from these recordings. Due to the use of these loops an intense sound is created; a sound the knows to combine the atmosphere created by the aforementioned The Caretaker and William Basinski (think of his Disintegrating Loops).
Once again Szczepanik, just like his previous albums, shows to be an excellent musician who knows to renew his work all the time. What he does here might not be the newest kind of music, but for him it is a total new approach, one he seems to handle with great care. Recommended album.
Listen to the album here
We Make Life Sad is limited to 300 and available for order at the WEME website