The cover of I Was All You Are says it all: blinding sunshine, dried weeds, a woman walking alone. Alicia Merz (Birds of Passage) seems to have been raised in haziness, forever existing just a bit out of focus. When she sings of “sunny garden places”, it’s easy to picture her lying in a meadow, catching the clouds between her fingertips. On I Was All You Are, she also sings of water; the elements are beginning to coalesce.
I’ve Lost is a downbeat name for a recording artist, bearing poetic associations: it’s not you I’ve lost, but the world. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. The ambient settings of I’ve Lost are slow beyond slow; there’s no way to measure them, but 4 b.p.m. seems a reasonable estimate. Listening is like watching a film in slow motion, then filming it and watching that film in slow motion, then taking the stills, cutting them into separate strips and spreading them sequentially over a one kilometer field. Lest one misinterpret such a statement, this is a good thing, an alternate proposal to an ADD world. To slow down, to listen, to listen carefully, to discern.
The artists cast an unstable shadow that shimmers like heat puddles. The sound falls squarely in the 4AD arena, particularly the branch founded by This Mortal Coil; a related and more contemporary sonic relative is Fovea Hex, especially “Don’t These Windows Open”. The title speaks of movement in perspective; millimeter by millimeter, the album crawls toward sublimity. By the closing track, a glimpse of what has been lost is finally revealed: and we never thought we’d lose you playing bullrush in the sun. And then Merz and the music recede. All, all recede. The needle toils quietly in the groove. (Richard Allen)
Release date: Mid/Late February
Bullrush in the Sun