“Something about True North has always baffled idealists. Tectonic plates established to guide the clearer top layer. Fragments of a desired truth, liberated; landscape untouched by the human condition, no need for compass. An English road pierces the jungle. An African herd grazes at the shore of the North Sea. Finding joy in the randomization of manipulation; the globe was slowly reformed from its pieces. Listen again, and I will not think the same. ‘I’ changes. The compass tilts, constantly.”
The work of Matthew Sage is far from foreign to these pages, both as a subject sonically and as a force guiding its very pen. Years have passed since the Rx fascination, the Starling Murmurations… even the Interior Shadows and the great collapsing of Lux. Truth is we’ve never taken to an artist quite like we have with him. His flux narrative: expansive, unpredictable. Our friendship: complicated, collaborative to the point of bias. Yet Nathaniel and I simply can’t help it: this desire to not only support what he does, but to participate in his process, time and time again.
Along came: A Singular Continent. This floating mass of ideas in various zip-filed stages. Familiar Sage-ian sound—guitars, electronics, samples & field recordings—pushed to uncharted territory. A continuation in one sense, and an outright revelation in another. If there’s a land M. Sage’s music tends to inhibit, it’s certainly one that shifts, that takes comfort in vanishing reality and risk in rumination. Violin, cello, saxophone, synth, iron: all these additions made sense in this new, borderless place.
And sure enough the continent would perpetually split and reform, affixing itself to miscellaneous task. Nathaniel found it embedded deeply within his collage-making. Late nights in the living room, surrounded by black and white cutouts. He’d kept all the scraps from Dreams, and with these recordings decided to assemble a new series at random: the very antithesis to Dreams’ geographic precision, a proportionate inverse to that globe altogether.
Iowa-based poet Grant Souders found it in his writing. He constructed four poems—North, East, South, and West—of abstract observations and surreal conundrums, ones encountered while living in these frequencies.
The three elements now become one deluxe artifact: a 2xLP through Patient Sounds and a 36 page book published by Palaver Press featuring all language and imagery (including one unique, handmade collage in each). The album streams above and the book opens below.