Reviews for [RL103]
Shivering Window "Days I've Lost/Clean Hell"
- Half Gifts
Shivering Window's migration from the cozy confines of cassette tape to a record's vast, wax plateau is a bold move, but one that gives the Californian bedroom act's funereal songcraft some much-needed room to breathe. Those familiar with the project's prolific tape-ography will instantly recognize Matthew Gray's tenebrous blend of dissonant riffs, echoing vocals and itchy tape hiss, but will find it tough to ignore the slight upgrade in presentation. It's as if Gray has snowblown the top layer of lo-fi murk from the tinny hits of drum machine that poke through his droney wefts of shoegaze - a bassy field recording that resembles a school bus' morning grumble is the only cushion between voice, percussion and minimally arranged guitar meanderings on the single's A-side.
Perhaps Shivering Window's most melodic effort to date, "Days I've Lost" patiently pairs a jittery, goth-folk verse with a surprisingly confident chorus that bears the vaguely folky twang that might haunt a Real Estate record. It's subtly catchy stuff that might worm its way out of my subconscious and into my mind's radio one lazy summer afternoon a few months from now, sending me tearing through my record collection in hopes of remembering the title of the tune I just can't shake.
- Raised By Gypsies
The moment I first found out about this record I thought to myself: this is the first time Shivering Window has been on vinyl, isn't it? I had to confirm this, which I did, but I always find it exciting when someone is on vinyl for the first time and many artists strive to be on vinyl. In a world now where record labels don't always mean as much as they used to (In the sense that you don't want to get signed, become a millionaire and live happily ever after since you can pretty much release your own music now for the world to hear) vinyl seems to be the tipping point for many.
And why wouldn't it be? Anyone can copy over an old Barry Manilow cassette or buy some blanks at Walmart (Actually, releasing a cassette might not *seem* expensive on paper, but it is still rather hard) but to be on vinyl, that takes some real money and that money being invested in you shows that you've got something that not everybody else does. You are worth putting money into the same way that people would once get tens of thousands of dollars thrown their way after making a demo of a few songs and some corporate suit would say "Go make a gold record, kid".
I'm not sure what any of that means, but Shivering Window has always been a band that I've enjoyed hearing the lo-fi songs of on cassette. They sound like they are often times recorded straight onto cassettes and so it is not wrong to relate them with being as such. But there was always something about them that I couldn't describe that just made me feel like they had this sound that sound be on record. Some artists don't make sense to me on vinyl, some artists don't even make sense to me on cassette, but for whatever reasons Shivering Window has just always worked on cassette and when I found out about this record it just seemed perfect.
Two songs- like the old records my dad would buy for a quarter- this is a song called "Days I've Lost" on the front and "Clean Hell" on the back. I really like "Days I've Lost" because if you've ever sat around and thought about how old you are, how many days are in a year and thus how many days you've lived and how much you remember from each of those days... Yeah. There is a quote I have written down somewhere from a book I read once but I'm not going to go find it so I'll just paraphrase. The author said he didn't keep a journal because as great as the great times were he didn't want to remember the downtime, all the days where nothing really happened. I feel like those are the days I've lost. Well, and other days for other reasons as well.
Through dreamy trip bliss and drum machines come something similar to "Pretty in Pink" and is somehow both melodic and whispy. During "Clean Hell" there is the sound of birds chirping which rightfully disturbs Tito, one of my cats but also the one who is usually sleeping next to me the most. I'm not sure whether Shivering Window has any official music videos or not, but these two songs make me feel like if the next step was to make a video for one of these songs it'd definitely involve a fog machine.
While I feel like the reasons to own this outweigh the reasons why you shouldn't, it's really as simple as this: I don't own a lot of vinyl. I own a lot of cassettes. But in those rare instances such as this when one of the artists I love on cassette puts out a record, yeah, I'm going to end up owning a record. Sure, I have more records than I'd like to right now because of that, but I've never really considered that to be a bad thing and neither should you.
- Still Single
Solo guitar/sequencer mope coming off like a chillwave Pink Reason, the sort of hesitant, low-key bedroom sad guy sound that would’ve shown up here in various assemblages circa 2008. The nostalgia factor for such sounds is not too high, so maybe Mr. Window is some sort of visionary, but most likely he’s just using the sort of skeletal tools that’ve been available to songwriters for sketching out their ideas since the ‘80s. I hear a little of the Romilar bonghits that graced early Bugskull tapes back in the beginning of the ‘90s too. None of these pulls would suggest a hidden classic, or even a must-own, but Shivering Window comports himself in proud man-wafer fashion, hinting at more but set back by technological and creative limitations. Frampton reminded us “Do you feel like we do?” lo these many years ago, and millions of American youth jumped at the chance to belong. Shivering Window has no sense of belonging, yet presents the same question, staring at the ground since at least 2012, and not really assuming any more than that you may already feel that way. If not, he’s ready to bring you down to that level. (Doug Mosurock)
- Lost In a Sea of Sound
Shivering Window has been releasing lo-fi home brewed music for over five years. This is a seven inch on Rok Lok Records and Juniper Tree Songs. One song on each side, both tracks cultured through the existence of the project created by Matthew Gray. These sounds are much more subdued and refined than earlier recordings. Not sure if the sounds from their start are results of recording equipment or intentionally crafting the raw sound, but later releases like this seven inch have a mellowness too them. This style of music has resonance in the New Zealand output of the early nineties, even though Shivering Window is from California. Beautiful composed tracks, thick in sonic layering, with tones and messages of hope overwhelmed by heavy introspectiveness.
Available on Rok Lok Records out of East Northport, New York and co-released on Juniper Tree Songs from Long Beach, California. Released in an edition of two hundred.