reviewThe Silent Ballet
Review of original Under the Spire CD version of 'For José María'
A lot has been said about the effects of the Internet on the music industry. One of the most
personally appreciated side effects of this new-fangled technology has been the increase in
micro-releases: the "limited to x," extravagantly packaged independent records that often
now have a more guaranteed market than ever before (Natural Snow Buildings and Have a Nice
Life come to mind immediately as some of the larger successes at such an endeavor). And so,
with this record-nerd-appeasing way of releasing, Rameses III has put out a limited three-inch
CD containing the sprawling seventeen-minute "For José María'," which wholeheartedly deserves
this sort of treatment.
Yes, the whole "album" is seventeen minutes and yes, it's only one song, but it is a constantly
shifting and entirely ambitious one which neatly avoids the two most common traps of such long-form
song writing: first, it doesn't beat to death a single idea for its entire length; second, it
isn't just several separate ideas mashed together haphazardly for the sake of having a long song.
The word of the day here is flow, in construction and indeed in sonic quality. Each movement flows
seamlessly into the next, and each movement itself is a lazy daydream of flowing drones and strings,
with the occasional speech sample.
It's a bit difficult to really dig into a single song without spoiling it or tediously writing
about every minute of it, so it just has to be said that this is a gorgeous piece of ambient
music. The opening ominous piano chords, the beautiful synth swells that follow, the gradual
burnout at the end of it all: it's just a piece that really, really deserves to be heard. It's
the perfect balance of ambience and more traditionally-structured music; it remains pleasantly
atmospheric while never dropping out into the background.
The limited release of this EP is by no means an exercise in vanity. Rather, it's the treatment
a work like this deserved. It deserved to be singled out, to be released as a self-contained
piece and consumed as such. It's beautiful music in an appropriately beautiful package. It
may be a bit costly, but this is a shining example of why one should buy music.
Monday 24 May 2010