Both of these tracks were recorded after returning from Japan in 2015, when we met Sanae after our Tokyo gig with minamo. There was never a set plan in place to collaborate, but being mutual fans of each other’s music there was always a spark, waiting to be ignited. Having been a huge fan of Moskitoo’s albums on 12k, we had in mind to try to create some material that felt more “live”, rather than the glitchy, digital sonic world her solo work lives inside. Despite how pretty and evocative Moskitoo’s music is, we wanted this to feel like a living room salon, by lamplight, damp leaves pressing against the windows. This is pretty barebones Sontag, and with the addition of Moskitoo’s soft, whispering voice in the mix, the result feels just as contemplative and wistful as ever.
“The Things We Let Fall Apart” actually used to be called “Unfinished Idea 021,” and came out of a few recording and improvisational sessions that resulted in handfuls of untitled, unfinished miniatures. The drone was created from a looped and isolated fragment of a chord played on the grand piano. An initial version of the piece had a glitching beat created from chopped, grain synthesized bits of radio static, but we dropped it after sending the arhythmic version to Moskitoo and hearing the subtle, delicate vocal footprints she left along the track. It felt right to leave it more open-ended, slightly on the empty side, and more contemplative. So with the change in pace, and sentiment, came the change in title.
As for “The Thunderswan,” this piece is about a girl who doesn’t belong in the town she’s from. She wanders through tall reeds at night to a dark lake where she finds families of ducks and geese. She knows she doesn’t belong here either, but they take her in, give her swan’s wings, and teach her to fly. Eventually one night, she takes flight and leaves the lake, soaring over it, over the lights of the town, looking down on these places that mean nothing to her, and she gets stuck in a thunderstorm. She battles through some rains and wind, and decides to elevate herself to above the clouds, she breaks through the thick clouds, following the ever-brightening glow of the moon to find clear night skies. Below her are the tops of clouds, above her only stars, she’s more alone here and now than she’s ever been and starts to doubt that she’ll ever find her true home. Just then, in an instant, from behind her and circling all around her, come 200 other boys and girls, flapping their giant swan’s wings and gliding through the night air together. She’s made it. She’s home at last. – Jeremy (Sontag Shogun)
Music by Sontag Shogun / Moskitoo
Words by Leonard Cohen
Film by Jon Yu
Vocals by Moskitoo
Piano by Ian Temple
Field recordings, treated vocals, electronic processing by Jesse Perlstein
Tapes, oscillators, electronics by Jeremy Young
Mixed by Scott Solter
Mastered by Lawrence English
Sculpture by Stephen Somple
© 2017 Sontag Shogun / Moskitoo
released November, 2017 via Home Normal
R.I.P. Leonard Cohen (1934-2016).