The Wind-Up Bird
Break-ups are bad; leaving incoherent voice mail apologies are worse. But the absolute pinnacle of ended relationship terror has to be as the inspiration for a harrowingly beautiful and depressing album. The Wind-Up Bird’s Joseph Grimm received a tear-filled apology and attempt at reconciliation from an ex-girlfriend on his answering machine. He uses this message, on a loop and continuously distorted, as the centerpiece for this album. What starts out as pitiable emotion is turned gradually to a garbled, monstrous sound repeating the mantra, “sorry that I’ve become this monster. I love you a lot.” The first five tracks represent the descent from a state of calm expanse, rife with pedal steel, fiddle and dark-toned guitar, through overarching claustrophobia and electronics and sinister turns that destroy all melody in the wake of the white noise apology. A very somber and understated rhythm pattern surfaces to usher the piece out. The remaining three tracks are supposed to plot a pathway to future optimism, but only the final movement attains a level of bleary-eyed hope to rise above the sullen melancholy locked firmly around most of this material. Whips goes well beyond the level of emotional honesty found in most music: it shows the composer’s exact inspiration and what form he took to give voice to his inner tortures.
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