Yesterday, I took a trip to the little record shop near my house, Co-op 87, to sift through the "Used Experimental" section. I always seem to find something rather enlightening there, and when you don't really know what you're looking for, it feels somehow apt to pan a river that has no discernible source.
That, and most of those records are between $4 and $6, so before you know it you've amassed a pretty nice collection of moderately esoteric music without having broken the bank.
What I find so interesting, however, is the apparent magnetism that guides our hand in constructing such a well organized lattice of aesthetics, until we are ensconced within a cozy nest of thematic reticula. For example, yesterday morning I spent a few hours poking around Bandcamp.com for interesting downloads and worthwhile artists to support. I came across the work of Massachusetts-based jazz droners Sunburned Hand of the Man and downloaded Locked / Loaded (2007). It's great, and as much as I wish people would stop using the term "drone" to describe such subtle and interesting music, the great magnet of the Universe has apparently got me predisposed to move toward and within this niche for the moment.
Later, I decided to go for a walk and hit the record store, where I came across an interesting disc recorded by Californian duo Ilya Monosov and Preston Swirnoff entitled simply, "Seven Recorded Works."
Of course, it was the minimal album cover (black, with the track listing written in white on the front) and wonderfully academic title that initially drew me to the work of Monosov/Swirnoff. I guess it shouldn't be so surprising that the same sensibilities that organized the music on the disc would go into its title and the subsequently the design of the jacket. I popped it on the turntable at the listening station and within the first thirty seconds knew I had to have it.
Something I always try to do when I find a random disc like this one (particularly a used one) is to see if I can find a digital download online. Unfortunately, while I did find some of the group's other work, "Seven Recorded Works" remains trapped in vinyl. In the midst of my search, however, I discovered the wonderful catalogue of Eclipse Records, which, coincidentally, includes another disc by the aforementioned Sunburned Hand of the Man.
Amazing, I know, and if you've kindly read this far I hope it means you can relate to my story. Either way, whether it is an example of synchronicity, divine providence or mere coincidence, it can be reassuring that one seemingly random choice can lead to so much more.
Sunburned Hand of the Man is worth a listen: