Steven R. Smith "Cities"
Rarely have a I heard such a gorgeous document....ever...ever read one, ever seen a painting such as Smith’s “Cities.” He’s a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, and on his latest masterpiece he strikes such an elegiacal, excruciatingly bewitching document that I find it hard to put into words. The expanse of emotion and timbre alone are nearly ineffable, and to simply say the word sublime is, well, an understatement.
Smith has an uncanny knack for unconventional melody—his constructions are at once mundane and insane. It’s partly due to his unorthodox instrumentation and the way he mixes his instruments. And that brings us to the way he textures his tones and constructs his timbre, as well as the way he uses the sound of the space in which he records. For a long time, Smith has brought us a plethora of ways to make music, to construct organic—even natural, found sounds—to us in the most musical ways possible. Though “Cities” often uses more conventional means, he in no way sacrifices the utter elegance and sometimes brutality with which we’ve come to know his music.
Here, mixing strings, found sounds, literal mic contact for percussion and a few effects bandied about, our, and yes I’ll say it, our genius doesn’t fail us. Bring to it what you will, but with Smith we truly have an artist of such eclecticism, adventure, mortality (and all its implications) and immediacy that he cannot possibly be ignored.
One of my favorites, I admit my bias. But I do so gladly. 10/10 -- P. Somniferum (9 September, 2009)