Monday, January 19, 2009

The Orange Spotlight

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal Still Human (Kendra Steiner Editions #122, Jan. 2009)

"I am the silence. I am the struggle."

I imagine you would call something a universal work when connections can be made regardless of intention, but perhaps it is just the times we find ourselves in. Up until a few months ago the idea of having to validate the fact that you are human was completely foreign to me. Since I lost job back in November I struggle to look in the mirror, to walk into a store, to get out of bed. I feel lost and forgotten, and the sideways glances, that are completely imagined, seem to twist and turn and drive me right out the door. Yesterday, I stumbled across a blog started this month by Chicago poet Raymond Bianchi called "My Great Recession". He also lost his full-time job, and tries to avoid the odd looks and the confused friends. He is looking for the anger and the answers.

Luis Berriozabal's "Still Human" embraces this cry, but is told through the eyes of a man trapped and rambling in a mental institution. His current state and surroundings make him feel the need to reassure himself and the world that he is still human. He has to prove that he still strives for love, for faith, for freedom, for acknowledgment, for trust, and for reward. He strives to let loose the colors of his blood, and rush free into the arms of security. It is a sentiment and energy that so many can relate to today.

Kendra Steiner Editions #122 was printed in an edition of 49 and I am holding copy number 22, so order your copy today.

Maps of Norway Die Off Songbird (Guilt Ridden Pop, Dec. 29th)

What could a songbird represent? Muse, freedom, a poet, a writer, an artist, a child compelled to invent an expression, all of the things that grow and thrive and die. I'm intrigued by the idea of the songbird, and clearly St. Paul band Maps of Norway is as well. Their second album on Minnesota's Guilt Ridden Pop, Die Off Songbird was released last month. The album features the incredible voice of Rebecca Leigh, who I find myself wanting to compare to a young Natalie Merchant, and it is her voice that carries this eclectic album.

Maps of Norway made their live debut in early 2004 in St. Paul, MN. Formed by drummer Jeff Ball and guitarist Eric Hanson, both previous of Vespertine and bass player Matt Helgeson, late of Unbelievable Jolly Machine, the group was not completed until the addition of vocalist Rebecca Leigh. With songs like "Caged Tiger" and "The Run Out", you can quickly get a feel for sense of urgency and energy contained in this album.

Listen To: The Run Out (mp3) and Strict Ritual (mp3)

No comments: