M. Sage has been a busy man of late, but he’s brought along a whole host of friends for his new record, Wants a Diamond Pivot Bright, which is due out on October 15 via Florabelle Records. Collaboration is the epicentre of the record; it would not exist without it. He actively sought collaborators for each track, with each artist sending him material explicitly named after or inspired by a line of poetry by Wallace Stevens. Once that was done, he would go on and finish the piece, concluding the process by responding to the initial contact and completing the rest of the track. A call and a response, one taking the first step in beginning and another delivering the ending.
The overall feel of the music is one of flexibility and liberation. M. Sage always answers and replies to the opening part of the music, and the tracks are varied enough to branch off and arrive in unexpected places. Because of this, there’s plenty to digest on repeated listens, and because of the many talented names on display, nothing ever feels stale. It would seem that the musicians exercised their choice on how to proceed, as they were at the controls when kicking off the piece, and this makes for very interesting results.
The mighty list contains Claire Rousay, Francesco Covarino, Ned Milligan, Patrick Shiroishi, Chihei Hatekeyama, Joseph Edward Yonker, Hakobune, Matt Wenzel, Beth McDonald, Zander Raymond, Chris Jussell, Lee Noble, Gianni Andreatta, and Josh Mason, and due to its many collaborators, every track has been given a soul of its own. Strings ghost into being while rougher textures and electronic splotches populate the background. Other tracks casually walk into experimental areas, almost as if by accident, but uncovering something majestic for their willingness and desire to trek further, away from the beaten path. Sometimes, the light, stuttering electronics seem to struggle to keep up, embedding themselves in the music in order to better stick within it, but this only increases the lethargic, relaxed atmosphere. The music feels more rural than urban, the open countryside and the slower pace fitting in perfectly, perhaps even without fully realising it. Like everything that comes into existence, some of the tracks live longer than others, but they all have something to offer, and they all feel cohesive and final, even when clocking in at just over a minute long. Time is not a barrier here; when it ends, it ends.
The record floats by like a butterfly, the main core of its identity remaining consistent, dappled in sunshine, and that’s quite a shock when you consider that every track features a different artist, with M. Sage being the one mainstay, tying the pieces together. A light, serene atmosphere flows throughout the music, even when suffering from the erosion of thick distortion. It is a kind record, and it doesn’t project any maliciousness or ill-wishes out into the world. Instead, creativity is embraced to the point of maxing it out, collaboration is thought essential, and it shines like a brilliant diamond.