Lee Ranaldo - In Virus Times
In Virus Times is an twenty-two minute acoustic instrumental piece by Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), composed during the pandemic. Released as a one-sided LP with an etching on the B-side, the cover is a beautiful photo by Lee’s friend, the great Brazilian photographer Anna Paula Bogaciovas.
Laying somewhere between American Primitive-style and gently droning reverb-soaked abstractism, the recording was originally released as one track, part of a collaboration with Lucien Jean for Le Presses du Reel, that featured on a mini-CD which accompanied a book of two short stories. This limited edition version, released by Mute, sees the track transformed into four pieces and includes an exclusive poster, designed, signed and individually numbered by Lee Ranaldo. The poster design is based on an electron microscope photo of the COVID-19 molecule.
Lee has written some of his own ‘loner notes’ for the release:
“This recording began on an evening in September 2020, stuck at home in lower Manhattan during the dark days of the Covid-19 pandemic as we came out of a deadly summer. A heightened sense of anxiety stemming from the then-upcoming US Presidential elections as well as the virus seemed to pervade all aspects of life, for myself and everyone I knew. Its minimal quality reflects the sense of ‘motionless time’ that many of us felt. I set up some microphones in our darkened living room (studios being closed due to Covid restrictions), coaxing out one simple, repetitive phrase, and then another, sounding them out into the air. The casual home ambience - a siren or truck rumbling down the street out the window; someone talking around the table in another part of the loft; water running - intrudes at points. I worked to develop a few simple thematic elements, but mostly I wanted to hear the notes and chords ringing out, hanging in the air for a long time on that evening when the world seemed close to stopped on its axis.
“I’d been listening closely to Morton Feldman’s catalog throughout the pandemic. His sparse, long-duration music could often be heard playing on repeat as we spent endless days locked inside. His willingness to do very little, with very simple elements, and to such profound effect, has been inspirational. I found the vast open spaces in his works thrilling, miraculous, and comforting in those empty times. Additionally, the Drop D guitar tuning used here has prompted my own variations on Bach’s works for solo cello, open strings droning against melodic lines, so simple and perfect…” - Lee Ranaldo, New York City, August 2021
In Virus Times - part 1
In Virus Times - part 2
In Virus Times - part 3
In Virus Times - part 4
- Pressed on transparent turquoise vinyl
- Single-sided LP features etching on B-side
- Includes signed and numbered poster print
- Contains download coupon
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