We’ve seen a few color-based releases already this year; Machinefabriek’s Colour Tones included odes to green and blue, while Spheruleus’ Cyanometry looked at the various hues of the latter and Darren Hayman’s blue vinyl Lido dealt specifically with the blue of the British swimming pool. Last year, Hauschka & Hildur Guðnadóttir dove into the deep end of blue with Pan Tone. The primary shade lends itself to multiple associations, from the obvious (sky, water) to the emotional (depression, “the blues”). The secondary shade, green, is more often associated with spring and new life, although one may also be “green with envy” or as melancholy as Kermit the Frog singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green”. Kate Carr and Gail Priest‘s new release is a wonderful addition to this collection: one side for each color, with each closing track a blend.
Carr describes her blue as “icy cold cool”, a shade famously investigated by Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell. Her tracks “A Sailor’s Chant”, “Low Tide” and “An Inky Night” reference the water below, while the shower on “Perhaps a Greeny Blue” references the water above. Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. The emotional blue arrives in the tug of vinyl pops and unanswered radio transmissions; one imagines a lost schooner, drifting on the tides. This is a sullen blue, a wandering blue, a blue without a home. When the rain arrives, it acts as a blessing: the companions, once separated, now meet once more. Of special note: the birdsong found on “An Inky Night”, a cousin to Carr’s recently launched Birds of a Feather series.
Priest’s green is intentionally warmer, recorded in part in the artist’s backyard, from which rise the cries of crickets and the whipping of winds. Birdsong is also present in this setting, as is wordless singing; the blossoming shade is the antidote to the first side’s stasis. Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed. In Australia, spring is not far off; anticipation builds throughout the animal kingdom. And yet, as day never quite conquers night, neither does green conquer blue. Between them lies an unnamed shade, described by Carr as “Perhaps a Greeny Blue” and by Priest as “Grue Bleen”. These tracks, created by file exchange, provide a sense of nature intertwined, as water and earth converge. A welcome, yet unexpected moment arrives near the end of the closing track, as the chords of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop” echo across the garden and sea. As the earth needs the rain, the green needs the blue, and the loss needs the cheer. All is in balance. (Richard Allen)