‘m what you call a hoarder. I keep shit. All of it. I recently realized this (or, perhaps I just finally admitted it) during my last move, which took forever and caused me great pain and grief. I have so many old clothes (a shirt that says “I ♥ Tater Tots” is among the worst..), old essays and articles from school years ago, little trinkets picked up here and there, countless posters… oof, and for some reason I still have all of it. A lot of it I keep for sentimental reasons—items that were given to me by someone special or maybe marked a momentous occasion in my life. But some of this crap (well, not crap) is puzzling. Where did this little green glass ball I have on my dresser come from? What is this furry little seal figurine on my nightstand? There’s a plastic elephant picture above my bedroom door… why?
Well, my iTunes library is no different. It is officially out of control. So much music, and most of it I have a pretty decent idea of where it came from. But if you’re like me, surfing around, checking other blogs (see right for a neat and tidy list of the ones we at the TOME frequent), on Facebook a lot checking out what other folks are sharing… you just start clicking. Well, I finally got around to hitting play on this album by an artist simply known as *e*. I don’t know where it came from, who gave it to me, why I thought it might be a good idea to download it, how it magically had the awesome artwork with it… WHO. Who, I ask, gave me this gorgeous nugget of acoustic, lo-fi gold? More importantly still: WHO. Just who, may I ask, are you, *e*?
I’m not sure I’ll get an answer here—*e* is a name that is basically impossible to Google. A search for this album’s title yielded one blog post that offers little in the way of information, other than the fact that *e*’s real name is likely *e*-lizabeth Hill. MySpace, Facebook, Bandcamp… nothin’. So if anyone out there has any ideas on this for me, I’m all ears. For now… a quick review:
*e*’s music is as mysterious as to the reasons I’ve stumbled across her path. Acoutic guitar-based folk songs that are sometimes stark, sometimes incredibly full—of noise, rumblings, drums, synths, bass, stray voices, flutes, clitter-clatter, mallet instruments… The effect is one of weirdness in your general freak-folk-weird sort of way. But *e* doesn’t really push away the way others of this style have been known to. *e*’s songs often begin with beautiful chords and hummable Jeff Mangum-like tunes, and then let the creepies set in and eventually overcome the songs altogether. But mostly, *e* chooses to let these songs become overwhelmed with beauty rather than ugly, stacking oddities and outlying sounds and effects that find supple harmonies within themselves and resonate deep.
This album is quite clearly DIY—tape hiss, static, slightly skipping glitchy digital info, “testing”‘s, etc. “Phantom O’ The Opera” is a bit excruciating, though the harmonium organ is quite nice. Same goes for closer “Pretty Kitties .deux,” which is a gorgeous song, rudely chopped in spinning static. But like most treasure, this can also be beautiful because of it’s blemishes. You Are A Brilliant Flower sounds old and weathered, though the metadata from the mp3 files reveals this came out only last year. Like an old photograph, its the image that’s what is important: an imaginative voice and one of the more creative songsmiths I’ve heard in months (and I’ve heard a lot of good ones), that is unmistakeable, if a little fuzzy. I’m sad to say that I have no idea why I even have this wonderful album. But like most of the piles of old stuff I’ve been going through in the past week, I’ll find a dusty trunk to wrap this up in a blanket and gently set aside somewhere inside my brain, in some deep corner of my subconscious. It’s already there, waiting for me to open it up and remember… that time I forgot. Thanks, *e*. Whoever you are.