“Bell for Harness” by Boduf Songs which clocks in at 9:37
From time to time EAR FARM enjoys featuring guest posts in the long-running 8+ feature. To that end, I'd like to once again invite any and all of you to get in touch if you're interested in writing your own 8+ to be featured here (see previous 8+ guest posts HERE). The only guidelines: you must write about a song longer than eight minutes and the song you're writing about can not be a recording of a live performance. Other than that, it's a wide open format where anything goes.
This week I'm happy to welcome a guest post from another Matthew, whose blog The Man Who Couldn't Blog was far and away my favorite of those nominated (along with EAR FARM) for the 2006 Bloggie Awards' "Best-Kept-Secret Weblog". I'm a very big fan of his writing and am pleased to have him be a part of the 8+ canon with a post about the song “Bell for Harness” by Boduf Songs.
Alchemy, a philosophical inquiry into the natural and spiritual worlds, has in the crucible of modern cultural associations been boiled down to a single reference: alchemists try to turn lead into gold.*image of "The Alchemist" from HERE.
When I ask you to consider the alchemy working beneath the music of Mat Sweet, a Southampton songwriter who records under the name Boduf Songs, I would ask that you remove that association from said consideration. The alchemy of Boduf Songs is in the exploration of how base elements (his low, whispered voice; his simple guitar figures; the ambient room noises that seep into his recordings; the rushes of quiet feedback) can create a whole that magically transcends its constituent parts.
Sweet transcends the limitations of his minimalist arrangements throughout his last record, Lion Devours the Sun. I have been asked to review a small number of releases for a music magazine over the last year or so. Many have been good. Many have been merely okay. A few have been unlistenably dull. Almost none have found a permanent place in my listening rotation. Lion Devours the Sun has, and is the best of the pack.
I go running at dusk—when I manage to convince myself to get up and go running. I live in Seattle, on a ridge that forms a spine through the northern part of the city. When I hit the ends of residential blocks, the spine is high enough to allow me a view of the Olympic Mountains to the west, and the Cascades to the east. The mountains at dusk are well suited to the droning, menacing beauty of Boduf Songs.
Put simply (and without all this possibly needless intellectualizing I’ve been doing up to this point) Lion Devours the Sun is the soundtrack to running in a residential neighborhood, being chased and run down and overtaken and consumed by a pack of wolves, and enjoying every last moment of it.
“Bell for Harness” is not the best song on the album—that would be “Two Across the Mouth,” which I would encourage the curious to find...search for on youtube...there’s a positively creepy video for it there—but it is the one that fits this 8+ format. And with its lovely, incantatory end, it’s a pretty fair exemplar of what to expect.
Buy Lion Devours the Sun on Amazon/on eMusic/on iTunes.
EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
8 Bold Souls - "Odyssey"
Artanker Convoy - "Open Up"
Dan Deacon - "Wham City"
Clan of Xymox - "A Day (Remix)"
Built to Spill - "Broken Chairs"
Spacemen 3 - "Big City (Everybody I Know Can Be Found Here)"
Pulp - "Seductive Barry"
Pelican - "March to the Sea"
To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.