MayMay is Laurel Simmons. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Simmonsʼ debut solo album, “And So I Place You In the Setting Sun” is a gorgeous, quietly powerful mediation on the acceptance of transition.
Simmons is no stranger to creating pastoral, evocative music, having exercised her considerable vocal and instrumental skills as a member of beloved Portland chamber-folk darlings Loch Lomond, as well as collaborations with a variety of other well-regarded acts, including international touring with peers such as Alela Diane and Rauelsson.
MayMay began during Simmonsʼ ﬁrst winters in the Paciﬁc Northwest leaving her homesick for the deserts of her native Arizona and the closeness of generations of family she left behind. MayMay is named in homage to her Arizona roots, in particular her grandmother Barbara Mae May.
“And So I Place You in the Setting Sun” is a remarkable record, willing to experiment with the tension between ambiance and rhythmic texture, while nostalgia and eloquent melodies arrange themselves into dynamics that are compelling yet wanting. The instrumentation blooms and fades like seasons through artful arranging and listeners come away with the notion of how triumphant the heart can be.
The collision of Simmonsʼ somber, ethereal vocals with lyrics permeated by images of sunlight and evocative themes of the process of letting go results in a record that truly sticks with the listener.
Jonathan Canupp is a name you should know but probably don’t, but then again might. He records under Ten and Tracer and I’ve been into his records for ages and ages now. Back when I was checking out early net label releases, Jonathan came up as one of two people whose work in their entirety I just fell in love with. And funny how he actually works with the other artist now and lives in the same damn city – the person being a certain Jason Corder (offthesky, Juxta Phona) no less. He makes wonderful IDM music and in fact I may have asked him years ago now to make us a ‘meaty beaty’ record. And along he comes with the very cheek of making some sublimely evolved, subtly woven record using violin, tape machines, guitars, maybe some keyboards and other stuff too. Friendless Now is a beautifully realised work, and one of my favourite Ten and Tracer releases to date.
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Walden Pond’s Monk is the brand new album from Portuguese musician and composer Tiago Sousa. Following the limited vinyl-only album InsÃ³nia released in 2009 on German label Humming Conch, Walden Pond’s Monk is the first album from Sousa released worldwide on both CD and LP formats.