Friday, August 29, 2008

Seht & Stelzer - Exactly What You Lost

Seht & Stelzer - Untitled 2

I swear, I get scared every time I put this CD on, like I don't know what's coming or something. The first track is some seriously angry shit. That first note just hits you like a needle in the ear but you get used to it after a couple of seconds. It doesn't let up, it's the same notes, just not as startling. You endure the abrasion for almost 3 minutes to be rewarded with some soothing drones afterwards. But that first track is important. It sets the tone. You see, both Stephen Clover (Seht) and Howard Stelzer (Stelzer, duh) had just gone through arduous times with their significant others and decided to do a tape collaboration through the mail (Clover lives in New Zealand and Stelzer in Boston) to make some music indicative of their emotions. So naturally, when you break up with someone, at first you're fucking pissed, hence the nastiness on track 1. And then most people get sad, and that's what follows on the rest of Exactly What You Lost. (See? It helps to know some background info to give the music context. Don't listen to those New Critics. Otherwise that first song would seem really out of place.)

Normally I equate beauty with happiness. You see or hear something beautiful and it usually makes you happy. That's why I think aesthetically pleasing things are so important. But sometimes beauty is also found in sadness. The most immediate thing to come to mind would be William Basinski's Disintegration Loops. Depressing as fuck but still beautiful, right? Well here, on Exactly What You Lost, sadness is abound and track 2 is like a "Disintegration Loop" in reverse. Slow and burning, but instead of decaying into nothingness, it builds, into something both gorgeous and mournful. It's somewhat disorienting, hearing music that makes you sad but sounds so wonderful.

I'm not sure it would do Exactly What You Lost justice to try to describe the music any further. It's something that should be experienced rather than read about. This is a piece that produces strong emotions and is probably best listened to in the company of someone dear to you. That way, you can enjoy the music without getting too depressed. Or maybe you're single, post-breakup, and looking to wallow alone in your bedroom. Well then, my friend, this is exactly what you need.

Exactly What You Lost is out now via Intransitive Recordings (which just so happens to be run by Mr. Stelzer himself). Check out this page for more info on how the music was actually created and to order a copy of the CD.

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