Claire Rousay – everything perfect is already here (Shelter Press, 2022)

It’s been three months since my last post; in that time I’ve been far from stagnant, listening to about 3000 tracks (according to my stats), so plenty of music. The vast majority of that has been energetic and modern material, hyperpop and it’s ilk, fast and exciting and bombastic and daft material that’s just suffused my waking hours in what has been a rather hectic quarter.

I was musing on these habits earlier in a rare quiet moment I’d set aside, and I realised in this opportunity for self-reflection that I’d been using these (admittedly fun) forays into loudness as a cover, protecting myself from slowing down and facing the emptiness. Keeping myself from introspection to keep myself going.

Don’t misunderstand me, variance is always important and outside of what I post here I listen to a wide spectrum of music all the time, and listening in particular to content made by (and for?) younger people has been extremely insightful to tap into. In my case, however, I let novelty and energy and experimentation take over the important reflective periods with no chance for pause.

Ambience has been a powerful tool over the last decade or more for me in exploring myself, my feelings, my relationship with the world. It provides endless chances to disappear into microcosms of our own making, to think and reflect and accept the consequences (both good and bad) of what that critical time with ourselves reveals to us. It isn’t music for holes or voids, it’s for contemplation and revelation, to remind us of exactly what Claire’s most recent 30 minutes hopes to gift: that the goodness we seek isn’t in evasion, that it’s in the recognition of the here. Now.

EPIAH is characteristically airy and mysterious, filled with the sounds of the slices of life in snippets of earnest conversation and fragments of recorded walks, stumbling to find feet for her words right at the opening of “it feels foolish to care”. Where the music arrives it comes on intermittent synths and heartbreakingly plaintive strings, Theodore Cale Schafer attending to the beautiful crystalline piano keys on the first piece in particular. It’s the instrumentation of that wedge of light in occupied darkness, of blooming potentiality that just needs those kindling words or peaceful moments to unfurl its genteel blossoms and become graspable.

In its spartan construction that dances on this curious edge of acoustic material and digital glitch abrasions and field recordings, often it feels like any intrinsic message if there is one is lost to pure flow. We’re simply suspended in some unravelling moment of clarity that was already in motion when we arrived, and seems to continue once we’re gone. And it’s in that curious emulsion Claire conjures that we find some sense of emergent inner peace and realisation bound inextricably to these almost magical electro-acoustic evocations.

It’s hard to know how to describe these experiences: music made as life is lived, admissions of beauty in mundane moments, balms for frenetic minds. Whatever the case, in this space everything perfect certainly is right here.