WITH his album exploring a septet of paintings hanging in American galleries in sound out on Altin Village and Mine this Friday, Toronto’s Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg, has dropped one final video single, “Red And Brown Scene, 1961”.
Moshe is by day, as it were, a member of experimental group Absolutely Free and collaborator with fine indie popsters Alvvays, US girls, and others, but guises currently as Memory Pearl.
In researching and planning his album, Music For 7 Paintings, he travelled to art galleries throughout North America searching for paintings that would move and enrapture him; he then set about capturing his engagement and experience of these paintings in musical evocation.
Each track of the seven directly and exclusively references a painting individually – including works by Joan Mitchell, Robert Ryman, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollock – and acts both as a love letter in sound to the work in question, and of the interplay of one mind and another.
And in keeping with the rest of the record, “Red And Brown Scene, 1961” is a beguiling work of modern compositional pastoralism, sharing a ‘Fourth World‘ kinship with artists such as Brian Eno, Hannah Peel, even Moondog. Although imbued with a beautiful sonic placidity, there’s all kinds of nuance of an instrumental, an arrangement or textural nature to engage with; at one moment led by woodwind, at another piano, at another yawing and skewing into electronics.
Moshe says: “Helen Frankenthaler’s Red And Brown Scene might be the most musical of the seven paintings. In contrast to the other pieces, which inspired a more deconstructive and introspective approach, this painting could be more literally and immediately translated to sound.
“The black brushstrokes communicate harmony and panning. There is an ashy element which I interpret as a soft, noisy backdrop. Her bold use of red communicates an element of danger; dissonance and alarm.
“Some of my first raw notes were, “sweeping synths rise together … sprinkles drip and splatter … bubbles like magma – and a bubble bursts distantly …” Listen for those elements.
“The video component is a simple accompaniment. Michael Pivar and I wanted to make a series of videos that captured the intimacy between a person and a painting: honest portraits that highlight a person’s inner life – letting their eyes, facial gestures and body language weave together a narrative.
“The painting is not in the frame, but its impact is reflected in the minutiae communicated by the protagonist, Heather Sanderson. It’s fascinating how a fixed image can orchestrate in us a range of feelings, memories, thoughts, and sounds.”
Connect with Memory Pearl elsewhere online at Instagram.