New Review of Swinghammer’s Another Another album

23. March 2018 · Thema: Uncategorized

DAVID REED: Add this to your collection

By David Reed, Belleville Intelligencer

Thursday, March 15, 2018 3:39:38 EDT PM

Another Another – Kurt Swinghammer

(Cultural Engineering, 2017)

In the liner notes to this latest offering, Toronto musician Kurt Swinghammer reveals that “Brian Eno’s Another Green World and Music For Airports have been two of my favourite albums since they were released in the mid 70s.” Upon reading that I immediately took some time and listened to those two wonderful records again before sitting down to experience Another Another. These three albums make a compelling listening trilogy, and good headphones are essential.

The creation of this record was influenced by Swinghammer’s stint as the very first artist in residence at the National Music Centre in Calgary. Daniel Lanois and Kid Koala have also held the same honour. While working at the NMC, Swinghammer was able to “access their incredible collection of rare electronic gear…to explore the Ondes Martinot (1928), Novachord (‘39), Clavioline (‘47), and Raymond Scott Clavinox (‘52)” as well as a Mellotron, Wurlitzer, Optigon and two dozen other instruments.

Admittedly, I had to look up a few of them but suffice it to say that these early synthesizers are groundbreaking and unique in their sonic palettes. Swinghammer manages to deftly integrate a plethora of sounds while maintaining a focus and balance that never sounds cluttered. The album is truly a sonic journey of exploration that doesn’t sound like anything else.

Most of the lyrics on the album were written shortly after the death of his mother, and Swinghammer presents the listener with an intimate sonic photo album.

On the track Jack Layton and Grace Appleton, Swinghammer tells the story of how his mother died on the same day as Jack Layton, and draws honest and touching comparisons of character, hope and influence.

Song About an Instrumental describes how Swinghammer chose to play Music For Airports in the chapel to create a calming ambience during his father’s funeral and how his mother mentioned the “unusual music on the stereo.”

Dear Old Soul shares his mother’s love of gardening and describes her yard as “a symphony of photosynthesis, her flowers were switched on in psychedelic bliss.” Swinghammer goes on to tell of spreading his mother’s ashes in the garden as “Mother go to Mother Earth, back to the ground” and then she rises in the springtime with the flowers. It is a touching moment.

She Needed More Loops is a slowly-evolving revelation of language, exposed in tiny parts and looped for nearly a minute before the body of the song kicks in. It is curiously compelling from start to finish.

Another has some spacey Latin overtones and waves of vocal harmony atop the synthesizer soundscapes.

There are two instrumental tracks that are particularly meditative and Eno-like. Pickering and 1919 both shimmer and blossom in ways that beg for repeated listening (again, with headphones).

The Random House closes the record with Swinghammer reading/singing a series of synonyms for “grace” (his mother’s name) as found in a thesaurus, through a vocoder. The result is simple yet profound.

Of particular interest is the series of animated videos Swinghammer created for each song on the record. Get onto youtube and check out all of the videos and then purchase a copy of Another Another.

This is a very special record that belongs in your collection.

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