In lieu of lists, I’ll start Episode 73 by saying that my favorite album of 2019 is Nina Keith’s arresting MARANASATI 19111, released in the late summer by Grind Select. It carries a kind of emotional sway unique in the sprawl of contemporary wordless music. To me, these arrangements — classical piano conversing with found sounds and textured traces of vocals, flute, and electronics — render the sense of impermanence found in listening with palpable awareness, intention, and pause, be it for the clouds or passing thoughts. The album never ceases to surprise in its utility, its choices to bloom sounds in certain moments, its ability to regenerate and turn corners, between melancholy, bliss, and revelation, seamlessly.
This music is deeply personal to the Philadelphia-based composer and trans woman — built around specific memory networks dealing with her experiences with tragedy, trauma, EMDR therapy, paranormal incidents — while also wildly inviting; it lets listeners in. She recently spoke with Whitney Wei of Bandcamp Daily about the concept of groundlessness, with respect to mortality as well as artistic expression and improvisation. It’s an enlightening read and makes her mix for us that much more effective. As do her accompanying words for u own the water, below:
“A couple months ago I was recovering from surgery and my friends were all sitting on this bed together when I admitted to them I had just learned that my birth time was actually 4 hours off from what I had previously thought. My friend immediately pulled out her phone to figure out my birth chart again (double libra, capricorn rising). My girlfriend exclaimed, ‘There has to be something wrong, how is there no water in her chart? She’s the soggiest bitch I know.’
“This mix began as a playlist on my phone to soundtrack my self care routine. Most of those nights aren’t really planned but rather surrendered to. Usually they come about from being at a sort of low desperate place often reeling from woes of existing in hostile, patriarchal and transphobic environments. After mindlessly adding songs to that playlist I realized it was somehow unintentionally but explicitly aquatic themed and didn’t have many cis men on it. I decided to make this mix expanding on that theme.
“I think about water as a conduit between myself and the world. An aid to soothe and dissolve the disconnect with the world that I might be feeling. My ideal self care routine involves sitting in a candlelit bath and/or crying completely for the sake of crying without needing to find a reason. There’s a gentle exchange with water. It’s the same water that evaporates into clouds and rains on everyone.
(*Not trying to make any kind of statement here. I love music made by boys, just not what I listen to during my bath-cry.)”
Kelly Moran – Water Music
Felicia Atkinson – To This Island
Emily A. Sprague – Water Memory 1
Colleen – A Swimming Pool Down The Railway Track
Katie Dey – Waves
Mary Lattimore – Wawa by the Ocean
Kara-Lis Coverdale – Splash 144
Nina Keith – I’m In The Water
Tujiko Noriko – The Flood
Yohuna – Lake
Ana Roxanne – It’s a Rainy Day on the Cosmic Shore
Resina – Dark Sky White Water
El Perro Del Mar – Inner Island
Julia Kent – Acquario
Julianna Barwick – Crystal Lake
Anna Luisa – Liquid Memory
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Wetlands
Meredith Monk – Cloud Code
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch – The Only Water
Astrid Sonne – Water Creates Swimmers
Floating Spectrum – Inner Island
Holly Herndon – SWIM
S&S Radio broadcasts every now and then on Newtown Radio.