Fourteen 45 Tails is about endings or eternity, depending on how one receives the piece and its underlying theory. Comprised of fourteen “downbeats” of 45 records, the half-hour work unfolds as a sequence of overlapping, interacting, undulating loops.
Botany is a curious artist, in that every one of his releases seems different, from dance tracks mixed into a cohesive whole (Lava Diviner) to hip-hop and rap. Fourteen 45 Tails is an ambient project, but its sample-based nature connects its DNA to the former releases. It’s one of four pieces in the set Longform Editions 12, joining releases by Josh Mason, Jasmine Guffond and Pablo’s Eye.
All good things come to an end ~ or do they? The piece prompts associations with other final, resonant notes and their corresponding emotions: the last words of a broken relationship; the last words spoken to a loved one before death; a last will and testament; the closing chord of a concert; the last sentence of a cherished book; the last scene of a movie; sunsets and ships on the horizon. All of these are memorable in their own manners, echoing through minutes, days and years. When static notes poke though in the 24th minute, one recalls the so-called “blank” space between the end of a song and the end of a 45 (the run-out groove): a nuance lost in the digital era. This space provides opportunity for reflection or gratitude. Unless it jumps onto the raised paper, the needle stays there, embracing one last repetition, the only option it has left.
The piece has a gorgeous flow akin to the stream of memory. As one listens, one loses all track of time, as the signposts have been erased. Could it be, as Botany suggests, that the afterlife is the final second of life, time-stretched to eternity? There’s a heavenly flow to these proceedings, a vision of the chill-out room as eternal reward. Some people might want more than an “infinite dream state,” but a benign imagination is a powerful tool. One wonders what this afterlife might have sounded like had the artist chosen records by Megadeath, Metallica and Iron Maiden instead of these beautiful synth, piano and choral tones. But the cloud of nostalgia it creates ~ for loved ones as well as for childhood 45s ~ is a source of comfort and a restive memorial. (Richard Allen)