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Memory Pearl

Music for 7 Paintings


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Number 28, 1950
Sunflower, 1969

For Memory Pearl’s Music for 7 Paintings Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg traveled to art galleries throughout North America searching for paintings which would enrapture him.

Like the experience of being drawn into the worlds of those paintings, these seven tracks – each one directly referencing a single work by Joan Mitchell, Robert Ryman, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, or Jackson Pollock – are love letters to the sympathetic vibration of one creative mind encountering another. They trace the way art inspires and generates art. Each resonates with the reconstructive energy that comes from translating the visual to the auditory.

One might expect a jagged, alienating angularity, given the modernist and postmodern source material. Instead there is warmth and depth of sentiment, accented by the analogue and digital synth pitch-shifts and cascades. The pieces crackle with the energy of translation: something new is created as the medium changes, mediated across the boundaries of genre. There are associations, asides, tangents as each work is “read” into its new format. There is no alienation, no cold distance: only engagement and warmth. The album’s lead track, Natural Answer, 1976 opens with sounds that feel like the gaze being caught and drawn into an intimate emotional connection with a work. Cupola, 1958-1960 begins with a thickly layered wash of sound as nostalgic as a train ride through the outskirts of a city at night, then expands into a cavernous memory-scene of personal association.

Fisher-Rozenberg brings a vast experience to bear on the paintings that inspire Music for 7 Paintings. While this may be his debut full length as a solo artist, he is a consummate collaborator (Alvvays, Fucked Up, U.S. Girls, Youth Lagoon, Man Forever) best known as the drummer and synthesist in Absolutely Free. Also clear is his visual sensibility – his instinct for how to translate the emotive context of visual art into sound, honed in collaborative work on kinetic sculptures, immersive installations and film scores. But what most comes to the fore is perhaps his recent graduate work in music therapy, and the sensitivity learned through his leading of music therapy sessions at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. This direct encounter with music’s power to heal lends the tracks a sacred, therapeutic quality. They are suffused with curative frequencies that connect the isolated individual to a world of contemplative beauty.

Music For 7 Paintings catalogues the energy in the gaze of a seasoned musician, translating brushstroke to sound.