TRACK | Armandinho – Fado Fernandinha

5/5 golden merles

If you are looking for a moment of masterful melodic phrasing and elegant passages interweaving, Armandinho’s (Armando Augusto Freire) His Master’s Voice sessions are a bounty.

100 years out and fresh as a daisy, this is somewhere near the highwater mark of honing the craft and feels like something rich/nourishing to draw upon.

With everything defined by death, it arrives within the interwar years between the first and the second. I don’t know when they were written, but this is the time of their recording, at least, 1928-29. Perhaps written in recovery and optimism before the calamity, the depression, the carnage.

In either case, the interpersonal can provide conflict or rejoicing at any period and everything is relative to subjective circumstances. Add in the abstraction of pure instrumentation and you’re free to draw from it whatever you like, pure admiration of form or this accompanied by the imagined intentions of the dead. In my ignorance, I personally think about the eternal, and true, and cliché Brecht quote 10 times a day, “In the dark times will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing about the dark times.”

Whatever the case may be, we’re very fortunate to have these recordings of a real genius, such a lovely document. Please check out the full set here, there’s nearly an hours worth of reverence.

TRACK | The Cowboys – After Sunset

5/5 golden merles

Bloomington Indiana’s masters of tone were on their A game for this one. “After Sunset” is a cultured rumination on the merits of the night, its highs (the moon) and lows (everything else).

There are many convincing details in these numerous doubts, many cleanly laid out facts that act as foundation for the anecdote: …lawn darts, losing one’s self, the casual alienation. It feels like any given evening. And it has plenty of nuance that humanize the narrator and almost makes you believe it was written by a person, a rounded character, bounding about the same damned earth that you inhabit.

I am made of fire today / and I’m trying to think of things to say to you / after sunset

For me, volume 3 and 4 were the sweet spot for these refined midwestern ghouls. But there are many years to come, probably, and perhaps the dreary flagging of their early efforts will return when the polish of clons/flowers wears, burns, or melts off a bit, whatever the case may be.

I haven’t listened to Lovers in Marble yet. I’m too far behind. If everyone could just agree on a truce for 4-5 years, a nice détente, I’ll catch up on these releases.