For cassette and CD orders, please visit: shaneparish.bandcamp.com/album/sing-to-me-of
Hypnic Jerk, in association with Red Eft, is proud to release the sophomore album by free-folk chamber trio, Library of Babel. The Asheville NC-based band - consisting of guitarist Shane Parish, cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt and bassist Frank Meadows - recorded the album Big Pink-style in a rustic artist space bordering North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest in 2018.
Deeply rooted in the sounds and culture of their Appalachian home-base, the trio were inspired to record music that melded the ancient and otherworldly Sacred Harp music of their land to contemporary sounds of improvised free-folk.
Franks Meadows (bassist): "The music is directly inspired by Sacred Harp vocal music or shape-note singing. Each of us in our individual musical journeys has been drawn to study this type of music which is so deeply-rooted in the region in which we all live. Together we wanted to translate its otherworldly ancient palette through "contemporary" improvisation. In its true form, Sacred Harp is a deeply democratic music, and while it provides a through-line to early-European music, it is a unique and haunting American derivation. In parts, we directly perform the music as a jazz "head" would before taking off, or sometimes we hang loosely around the key centers it suggests. It was a really fun, and very regional-feeling sound."
Thoughts on the album by Jeremy Hurewitz (Rootless):
It could be that the moment I’m listening to the new Library of Babel record is heavily influencing what I’m hearing. As the world seems to unravel in a nasty global pandemic, with the U.S. (where I am) seemingly the vortex of this black hole, I am finding a lot of what I am feeling rendered in the music of this album.
The darkness of our society – its tribal ills, its inequalities, its cruelty – splash out in shards of mournful strings and angular guitars, summoning the sources of humanity’s continued self-destruction. Equally strong is the antithesis of this darkness, a sultry and powerful beauty that holds back the flood and summons hope.
“China” sounds like some kind of awakening, the spirit of something wonderful arising after a period of long slumber, conjuring optimism and beauty out of a stuttering bowed bass, scattered ripples of lovely guitar that glisten like sunlight, and a steady low drone of life underlying the colorful overtones.
“Idumea” feels like a natural next step in this rebirth, dancing on that line between darkness and light, conjuring magic and the unknown, telling the truth about the multitudes within and all around us.
Emmalee Hunnicutt’s softly imploring line “I want to be…” on the radiant “Golden Harp” is haunting and apt for this moment in time. It feels like life is percolating and unsure of where to go next, but insisting that it find a way onward.
Somewhere Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane are hanging out and looking down on our human follies and looking approvingly on the efforts of Library of Babel to illustrate these human experiences and document our current moment in time.
- Jeremy Hurewitz (rootless.bandcamp.com
), May 2020
released June 27, 2020
Shane Parish (guitar, voice)
Emmalee Hunnicutt (cello, voice)
Frank Meadows (bass)
Recorded Patrick Kukucka at Azule, Hot Springs NC
Mastered by Andrew Weathers (andrewweathers.com/mastering
Artwork by C Foster Baril