By the One and Only... Styles Bentley

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Watercolor Painting "These Arms" A Lo-Fi Record Adventure

Excuse me, could you please remove your shoes before entering, Socks Too!! Bare feet. Now, pretend that your feet are one; they collide together and join harmoniously. Yes, good and now your entire body is just that. Naked as your two bare feet, excuse me, one bare foot that is representing your body as a whole... Do you work out?  More so, are you comfortably confused, naked as a large foot man or woman!? Great!! Now take your big toe, which I suppose would translate to being your head, and dip into your favorite color. Now dip all your toes!  Like your ears and eyes, nose and teeth, dip all them little piggy’s in the paint. Okay, okay… so now, now we have facetiously developed an alternate reality to create with! Or, we have created an appropriate atmosphere for listening to the new album “These Arms” by Watercolor Paintings!

A lo-fi record adventure, at times is somewhat mysterious, in such a tech savvy industry, it sounds like it could have been a demo in 1978.  In the world today of laptop DJs and an endless list of at home studio record labels uploading tracks onto the internet like pissing into the ocean, what is lo-fi and someone who sucks at recording gets confused. The difference is not in the equipment, but inside your soul!  I’ve never met Ms. Redman, but I know her soul is all the technology needed to portray her feelings, she knows what she wants.  At times the ambiance on the tracks seem to be of a friend filled living room, outside in the front yard cars passing, some tracks sound like a gymnasium or cafeteria, some sound  back or side stage preshow. What it doesn’t sound like is a soundless vocal booth. Her words are powerful, witty, and at times just cutely confused in the ukulele twang or harmony vocal. Though I realized that I listened to the album in two distinct ways; one being that I intently listened to the lyrical content, or two, would find the specific words to be lost and the sound simply combusting and reconnecting into a gritty duet of string and voice upon sound waves that have never been genetically modified. But, sometimes you just want some beef and processed cheese on it.

The world doesn’t like fresh.  A super size me civilization has tolled the common man’s brain and what he believes to be good. Even myself at first listen found the sounds to be unlistenable in an inadvertent setting.  When I played the album for the first time, it was over doing other writing and work, playing in the background, and was lost in my thoughts to deem this artist as another confused girl with a guitar and group of fun loving hipster friends in California, who’s intentions are to be ultra unique, creating overused themes of timeless youthful ponders and thoughts. Was my stereotype correct? With all these Neko Case wannabees playing there intimate sets filled with lifeless, movementless crowds, falling into the feminism of Lillifest and woman’s rights in the 21st century, a Folklife fanatic, hairy armpits and all! I looked up from my screen and saw myself in the reflection atop my browser opened to Google +. My face surrounded the screen like a connect-the-dots puzzle. I was becoming a social network, filled with judgment! NEVER!! I rushed to the closet and threw off my clothes, I don’t need THEM!! You see, I found that I was being just that, a hypocritical music whore stereotyping artists in genres I don’t particularly like or listen to often!! As timing usually plays a key part in life, it did now.  An acapella antidote called ‘Bigger than Yours’ began to play. The simple ideas of comfort and love created an instant feeling in my heart! I slid the socks of my feet with the opposite foots toe, and imagined them as my face watercolor painting. The harmonies created smooth glides across gritty brick walls, and I said okay, this lo-fi folk thing is cool with me!

I continued to listen with intent, naked at my desk, freed of societal chains directing my opinions to my heart, and not my facebook status. This slowly started to transition as the music charmed me to begin to draw. Lines became a man, which became a man with a stick and a pinecone. He soon began to use the pinecone to record the singing of a woman growing out of a tree nearby. The trees leaves slowly burned into the sunset atop the page and my wrist began to weaken as the last track “Spider Web” began to play. I decided it would be a good time to medicate. I found even now, that through the record, I still in my nudity was nit picking little things in my brain due to the low-fi recording; loss of tone and dynamics, clips and pops. Then, during ‘Spider Web’, it sounded perfect. The sweet harmonies broke my heart and made me cry yet smile again by the next line. Ms. Redman’s voice was charming my pants off! Well, they were already off, but you know what I mean. I found that I love her song, her voice. It’s so sweet and lovely, tender, silly and fun! Yes, and as I said before Ms. Redman knows what she wants. Not a mass of people giving her track 15 seconds of a listen and judging the hell out of it. She wants the people who will intently listen to HER. Her voice was designed by rainbows for people to listen to it, for people to paint to it, to make love to it, to be inspired by something so small.

Now remove your foot from foot, and extract your body to become whole again. But let them walk the streets of our world knowing that you can be naked and transform inside or outside anything whenever you want. Embrace what is not real, what is real, and choose to embrace art that was made to be art and not a product of consumption. Choose to listen to the new record “These Arms” by Watercolor Paintings! Oh, and yes, you can put your shoes back on. Thank you.

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