“Split Ends, Split Head” C46

Racecar. Boston did not sob. A man, a plan, a canal, Panama. Mitch Meyers, AKA Sreyem Htcim! These are all mighty fine palindromes, but only one is (a fraction of) the project name of a chap that brought us Hear Hums & Peace Arrow!

There…I dropped The Names. It was worth it, though, cz it’s really interesting to hear a beloved artist’s evolution-through-struggle with self-imposed limits; especially when those limits involve song-writing…while stubbornly refusing to use any lute instrument, right?! Like, I’m pretty sure even the bass notes here are bonged out by a bass xylophone. The list of instruments (mostly percussive) gets lengthy (like, Olivia-Tremor-Control-and-the-kitchen-sink lengthy), with glockenspiels, melodicas, kalimbas, clarinets, djembe, harp, zither, drum kit, saxophone, the occasional synthesizer slide, vocoders…

With this laundry list of bangers & twangers, “Split Ends, Split Head” sounds likely to be an explosive rock-fest, right? Wrong! Much like said self-limitations, all these potentially noisy tone-makers are muted into a graceful hush, just loud enough to be melodious, but barely toeing the line between utterance and whisper. It ends up sounding much like a dedicated group of considerate cult members trying to hold a ceremony at midnight without waking anybody up in the apartment next door. The energy is expertly restrained, kept in check and massaged, rather than catapulted. It’s…it’s pretty weird, and well worth a concerted headphone listen or five.

My partner thinks it kinda sounds like Múm, from time to time, when I play it on the stereo. I can kinda hear it, too. Have a listen for yourselves via the link below!

— Jacob An Kittenplan