September Roses

Ways of expressing how music makes us feel are as limitless as our own imaginations. Recently, my friend Cathy described the experience of seeing a concert in this way:

Cathy’s September Roses

“September roses from the yard … an image of what Fleet Foxes’ show sounded like last night.”

That’s really good, isn’t it? You get the message of natural beauty immediately – even if you don’t know the band – and especially if you are familiar with the sometimes soaring, sometimes intimate, and always pretty music of Fleet Foxes.

Music can be, music is, much more than just the arrangements of notes or sounds. The image of a bouquet or a mountain forest in flames; the aroma of rich baking chocolate or a cloud of sweat; a slant of light that forces you suddenly into a squint, or the shiver of waking from a dream: these are music, too, in their simple or complicated evocations.

Music inspires us to our own expression through forms as varied as romantic dance and violent protest. Music influences personal styles as far flung as Ellington-style elegance, the pleasant messiness of neo-hippie chic, or torn up and raggedy punk.

Sometimes, though, music takes us inward – often straight into our own heads – and we focus on things like the disparities of our own self-perceptions. We may ask big questions like, “What is my place in the world?” or “What is my place in the universe?” These questions may arise from insecurities or from healthy and continual self-discovery, and the very asking of them may help us to learn about how we relate to others.

Experience the journey inward with the recent music of Moses Sumney whose newest release Aromanticism, is deeply introspective. (Out 22 September 2017 on the Jagjaguwar label.)

Deeply introspective, Moses Sumney.

Through luxuriously layered vocals and crafty instrumentations Sumney investigates intimacy, isolation, and existence. The 36-minute record took three years to make, and while the sounds are often light, dreamy, and ethereal, the thoughts that Moses Sumney provokes are heavy. The music weave guitars and pianos with unexpected live instrumentation like clarinets and flutes, and there is a mass of electronic musical mastery used through beats and looping.

At its least adorned, Sumney‘s music can remind you of the plainest (and maybe the greatest,) songs of Johnny Mathis – distilled to feature almost miraculous vocal ability. At its most complex, there is in Sumney‘s music Radiohead‘s gorgeous and dreamy saturation of minor chords. And dreams are to be desired here. In an interview with NPR, Sumney said the record took a long time to make because he was, “…sculpting the sound to  … be like a dream … I hope people will fall asleep [when they listen to it.]”


Check it out – these are gentle, confessional songs. Sumney describes Aromanticism as, “a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape. It seeks to interrogate the social constructions around romance.” Headphones suggested. Italicized titles below are linkable to hear songs by Moses Sumney from Aromanticism (2017 Jagjaguwar):

Make Out in My Car

Lonely World

Indulge Me

Self-Help Tape

His Web site, for concert dates and links to purchase his music: 

Here’s Johnny:

An Open Fire and Tenderly by Johnny Mathis from Open Fire, Two Guitars (1959 Columbia).

27 September 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *