The more I go through the Camera Obscura site, the more I find some absolute gems. Camera Obscura, I should say, is nothing to with the Glasgow Indie band from the 90s, but is an independent label passed in Australia. I’ve always been rather dismissive of Australian music but I’m going to have to give it another look, if this label is anything to go by.
The album they seem to be plugging right now is called “To All Dead Sailors” by Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher. Camera Obscura describe it thus:
“A collection of songs, instrumentals, and sonic experiments, this is an album that explores the mystery of the sea: its violence, its beauty, its grace.”
(Which now I’ve pasted it here seems a little on the pretentious side, but having heard the freebie from the site, “Carpenters and Sailors”, I’m prepared to put it down to understandable over-exuberance…)
Anyway, if these things impress you, it turns out that I’m not the only one going on about this record, as it goes, Pitchfork have posted this 7.5 review:
“To All Dead Sailors, mirroring the singers' tone, is dense with longing. Each song seems to strain against the boundary of its simple instrumental palette, as if the depth of feeling contained inside exceeds the size of the well.”
(These things do, of course, impress me.)
Both of these guys seem to have a fairly decent collection of previous albums which I shall do some exploring of in the next few weeks, and from what I can tell most of their music is quite moody and formless (I’m struggling to avoid saying “ambient”) – sonic experiments, if you will.
Can’t find any downloads available for Jefferson Pitcher - his site seems to be a bit of a work in progress. There are, however, a couple of Christian Kiefer songs for download from Camera Obscura, (one of which I’ll put up here), which are rather ethereal-sounding but still pretty attractive.
They obviously do write ordinary songs, however, because there is one download from the joint album, which is an absolute blinder. As I’ve said, it’s called “Carpenters and Sailors”, and it’s just beautiful – the Pitchfork phrase “dense with longing” seems really appropriate, and is of course one I wish I’d coined myself. Unfortunately, the album hasn’t turned up on Emusic yet, but it’s surely only a matter of time… It’s one I shall definitely be getting.
Have a listen
Carpenters and Sailors – Kiefer-Pitcher
Kalmykov (Poppies) – Christian Kiefer