Album of the Week - Clarice Jensen - The experience of repetition as death
Considering our current situation, the title of Clarice Jensen's most recent release feels pretty spot-on. "What day is it, again?" we wonder, dressing ourselves in the same clothes that we wore yesterday and will surely don again tomorrow. A ten-step commute to a makeshift home workspace does not feel quite right (if you are so lucky to have employment), nor does the lack of separation between daily tasks. There are no longer clear transitions - only a muddied blur of work/play, always colored by stress. We feel trapped within these cycles, and this repetition gradually begins to feel a bit like decay.
Now that we've established such a pleasant picture of the present, we can turn our focus towards Jensen's album, which plays a bit like a cycle, itself. The album is bookended by two similar, stunning pieces that showcase Jensen's famed cello skills. Her 2018 album with Johann Johannsen was one of the great releases of the 2010's, and the familiar aesthetic found on that work carries over here. Sandwiched between these two tracks are three longer pieces, forming a sort of symmetry. On these compositions, Jensen experiments with layering effects to manipulate melodies into pummeling drones, accosting the listener. Revisiting the album in its entirety, however, is a rewarding experience, as all five tracks begin to gradually feel like a singular wash in sound. It is an album which is initially impressive, but gets even better the longer it is examined. And even though it is unclear if any sort of optimistic theme threads through this work, we can hope that deeply powerful albums such as this will somehow provide a bit of solace within our repetitive routines.