Thursday, January 27, 2011


here is a stunning dreamy lo-fi pop track The Eye In The Eye Of The Storm, from ambient folk artist Lady Lazarus {Melissa Ann Sweat} off her new album "Mantic" (2011). this is an older track, but i really wanted to put up here for those not familiar with Sweat's music, et also to highlight the fact that she has just released her brilliant debut album.

"In the eye of the storm / it's so quiet / so unbearably quiet"

Sweat is a self-taught musician which strongly characterises the raw, tentative, naturalistic style she has, her music possesses a simplistic, artless quality that makes it all the more endearing et heartfelt. The Eye in the Eye of the Storm has an intimate, lo-fi quality, full of room tone et hiss, it is a bare-bones track, very prudent in its rendering, the simplicity is what makes it such a devastating song.

the sole instrumentation is a haunting, murky, cavernous sounding piano, the luminous ringing notes reverberate while a thudding sustained note resounds somberly. this contrast creates an endless conflict between the ringing/light notes et thudding/dark note, a rising et falling, only to be repeated again, producing a sense of inner torment et forlornness. the minimalist looping piano melody creates a whirling, disorienting sensation, as if we are caught inside a tornado, but it also evokes the agitated mind of the artist, preoccupied with the same depressing thought which is going round et round in her head. it is all the more engaging that the piano loop is not perfect, it is delightfully human, slightly wonky et off-kilter, it falters, each repetition not quite the same as the last, adding to the unsettling emotional tone of the song.

The Eye in the Eye of the Storm is a stark confessional song, you really feel the weight et isolation of each word, each drawn out syllable has tremendous emotional resonance. this strong feeling of solitude is intensified by the simple looping piano melody. Sweat’s bare, dispirited vocals drift forward out of the dizzying melody, her voice seems to get more leaden et sluggish as the song progresses, the burden weighing down on her becoming almost unbearable, yet she manages to gain enough strength in the end when she resolves "I will not retire".

"Who's gonna sing it / but me /
and who's gonna live it / but me."

these lyrics really encapsulate for me Sweat's attitude as a solo artist/poet/musician, you can tell right away that making music is something she is compelled to do, this is not just for fun or to live out some Joni Mitchell fantasy, she actually has something very personal to say, there is a strong need to express/confess her own intimate thoughts et feelings about herself et the world, et like all good music, it is the simple emotional truths that always resonate the loudest.

Sweat procured her rather apt musical pseudonym from the Sylvia Plath poem, Lady Lazarus.

MP3: The Eye In The Eye Of The Storm

check out the mesmerizing et haunting new music video for The Eye In The Eye Of The Storm directed by Austrian visual artist Katharina Lackner.

if you like what you hear you should definitely check out "Mantic", available online from the Lady Lazarus bandcamp page along with her "Home Recordings" EP (2009).

you can find Lady Lazarus here: myspace | lastfm | facebook

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