Geneva Skeen – Double Bind

I wrote this album over the past year––a bleak but transformative period of time. This work became an extraverbal expression of my interior experience. With that in mind, I decided not to write about it myself. Instead, I asked my dear friend to reflect on her listening of the record. Poet Aristilde Kirby writes:

Flower branches dowsing rod against their doubles in the wind’s aimless static.
Spindled fog verglas plants, caressed by white rays of absolute eyelash.

[A wisp of fresh respiration] ‘The world has no visible order & all I have is the order of my breath,’ says the fifth track on Double Bind. [A ribbon of a scream] It has the incandescent & incantation-like quality of the title of Fushitshusha’s 2014 album: Nothing Changes No One Can Change Anything I Am Ever Changing You Can Only Change Yourself. [Asemic voices from anywhere] What can you count on these days in 2020, outside of the pacing of your breath as we all struggle to cleave to each passing beat pair & repair? [Spirals of a finger on glass] Between two right hands, neither really righter than the other, we have no choice but to hold on to the you one holds dearest to: the beads of just being.

[Sinewaves in phase] When I comb my hair to get ready for the day, I realize that the black static it collects was always meant to fall away. [Synthetic graupel in flames] Here, Skeen specializes in ambient music as the pellucid space of an emotional landscape, limned in Timothy Morton’s ethos of dark ecology & Gloria Anzaldua’s idea of nepantla. It is equally phenomenological, psychological, spiritual & visceral. If you ask me, Geneva is a poet who works in sound sculpture. She cures slabs of lived time as if flesh marble & makes of her subconscious an underworld for the listener to locate themselves in. [Bats that clamor as strata of bleeding leather] The through-lines of her past works are clear as a fault crack & in this instance, glimmer like quartz veins.

[Tiny harmonic partials prick like an ice pick] Skeen knows that to protect the lit wick, you have to cup the darkness. [Anvil & shelves of overcast guitar drop into a weak bell pulse] She knows that to get past a hard period, like timing a total eclipse’s black sun, you have to account for every degree, every granular shift, of lost movement. [Dread awaits, step by step on the tepid bathroom tile, displaced] Do not let the coldness of existence’s indifference make you forget that inside you is a vast reserve of heat. [Glacial light glaives that cloud perception] Everyday, we literally squeeze water from a stone to wash our face.

[The crashing falls look like plumes of sand smoke] The sense impression I got listening to that song, which is a cascading ripple of descriptions I got from other moments on this album was:

“The innermost of all voices centers her poise like mist blankets over morning grass. The blood gallops like cut yew flower in traced stampede dialects for thaw-flecked resonance.”

[Avalanche reverberations boil time’s marrow & glow with Aaliyah tape drone] Choose yourself. Don’t be scared to live again. Now, I am dusting a concord grape with my being’s clear lymph before I eat it.

www.room40.bandcamp.com

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