Welcome once again to Sounds of the Week, the weekly musical musings of members of the Justseeds cooperative. This week: Efrim Manuel Menuck and an archive of an Amazing Radio show broadcast by Meredith Stern and Erik Ruin.
Meredith Stern sent me a ton of links to radio shows she has been broadcasting and are archived online. I will be posting these regularly as they are filled with incredible songs. Here’s one that she did with Erik Ruin, it includes greats songs by The Wipers, Dead Moon, Big Blood and more:
Sound notes from Pete:
I’ve been a long time fan of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, ever since touring to Vancouver BC, staying at the exceptionally gracious hosts in the band Submission Hold, and having them sit us down to listen to the first album release by Godspeed, Canadian pride beaming. So I finally got around to looking into the solo record put out by Efrim Manuel Menuck, founding member of Godspeed, and instigator of A Silver Mt. Zion, which also consists of many Godspeed members. Menuck’s record “Plays ‘High Gospel'” is a continuation of the sounds he’s been masterminding in ASMZ. Primarily a guitar player, this album takes his anthemic guitar sounds and pushes his sound-sculpting noise to new levels, layering everything with his powerful/frail/triumphant vocal stylings. My favorite track: “August Four- year of our lord blues” is a masterful but simple composition of echoed out guitar that feels as if it may crumble to pieces at any moment accompanied by violin and an under-layment of electronic analog noise.
While overall this is a masterful record, there are moments worth skipping over. The second track “a 12 point program for keep on keepin on”, is a noise fest that spirals into a techno-ish beat toward the end that may have been enjoyable in the creation phase, however doesn’t stand up to the rest of the work and ends up seeming like a filler track. By hitting the listener so early in the album with this song it somewhat derails the listening experience of the album as an entity, unfortunately taking a few songs to recover. The rest of tracks move from soundscapes and environmental recording, to somber piano, to the epic guitar based pieces with enough variance that my attention is constantly held and I am not so overwhelmed with the beauty of his guitar pieces. A master of melancholic anthems Menuck kills it with the final track ” I am no longer a motherless child” again employing the solo guitar track with swelling loops of noise sounding as if it was recorded in a cavernous warehouse strewn with debris, doubled over with the most heart wrenching vocals on the album, and slowly bringing in a simply drum track; lyrics: “look at my boy, look at him smile, I am no longer a motherless child” gives me shivers every time I listen to it.
Constellation Records, which put out this album , and Godspeed, and ASMZ, continually are one of the most inspiring record labels I see in current operation. I am almost always impressed by the care and design put into their releases. When I heard the first Godspeed record I was entranced by the sound, but the record and packaging itself completely won me over, embossed lettering on the cover, enclosed with poster/booklets, and piles of small ephemera including the infamous penny flattened on a train track, I still revisit Constellation’s releases for inspiration when I design records for bands.