Yes, you read that right. Though we've practiced a strict single-nomination system for our Monday morning AOTW posts here at DC, this week we simply could not resist writing about two excellent albums released last Friday. Both selections not only feature beautiful music, but are also tinged with nostalgia - the artists seeming to recognize the importance of contextualizing the present by remembering the past. As nature's unwavering presence serves as a focal theme through both albums, the artists ask us to meditate on underlying sources of strength during these fraught days.
The Broderick family name is inextricable from the winding narrative of Northwest music. Siblings Heather and Peter release projects independently, produce albums for others, serve as session and touring musicians for countless bands, and act as entry points for many artists who are curious about the experimental vein of indie folk. But while they are both undoubtedly prolific, it is their mother's first ever album that garnered the attention of this site. Selah Broderick has played and recorded music her whole life, from gigs in dingy bars to pioneering yoga retreats, and Anam is a decades-spanning anthology of these sonic explorations. The recordings on Anam pull from the 70's up to present day, and capture traditional and original tunes, field recordings, tender guitar, vocal harmonization (yes, with her kids), and plenty of flute. The album is a beautiful history, but so interesting to hear and consider in the present. Below, you can find two very different, yet representative tracks.
Spirits & Reflections is also Mat Eric Hart's debut, and it too is a reflection on the artist's memories and experiences. However, the instrumental tracks on Hart's album are specifically inspired by his encounters with the natural world, interpreted then though his six-string. Recorded remotely in the French countryside, he asks us to join him for a while, to disconnect and let his carefully-crafted melodies inspire a state of meditation. All five compositions soothe, but back-to-back tracks,Ted and Samara especially stand out as highlights. Hear them both below, but it is highly recommended to sit with the entire album, uninterrupted, to appreciate the artist's desired intention.
Take care of yourself this week. Engage when necessary and disengage when your body and mind are telling you to do so. Music and meditation can be a salve, for sure, but they do not permit us to back away from criticizing unjust institutions and fighting against fascism.