Songs We Sang In Our Dreams
SHIMMY-2001 / Release Date: Aug. 24, 2020
"Songs We Sang In Our Dreams is oneiric by design, and therefore like one of the very greatest pop songs ever written, “In Dreams,” by Roy Orbison, the album not only wants to speak of dreams, it wants to speak from inside, to recreate the das unheimliche of the oneiric; in some ways this is beautifully obvious, the suite-like nature of the album, the gliding from one mood to another, the continuousness of the whole, the jump-cut like sudden eruption of new textures, the mystery of the psychedelic here, the appearance of drones and the sort of echo of Indian classical music that is a feature of the half-remembered or full-body psychedelic, but also because the psychedelic is from a dream that you dreamed. These are obvious resonances. And then there is the dream work as Freud described herein, the thing made of condensation and displacement. The songs sung in our dreams? Of what would these consist? Of feeling, above all, about the paralyzing clarity of emotions in dreams, or the unpredictability of feelings, how they can cycle through a whole buffet in a dream, and how the meaning of these feelings is sometimes uncanny, or misaligned with the manifest content of the dream, and how the meanings are buried underneath these totems of significance—this item right in front of us, this obelisk, seems to mean something, it’s a veritable household item, but why does it cause so much inconsolable weeping? Only concentration, and improvisation, and patience yield the answer, and Songs We Sang In Our Dreams invites this interpretive zeal, in its manner, both plain and considered, both obvious and devious, both bluntly sad and stylized, both borrowed and new, both song-oriented and not, both rock and roll and not, both masculine and feminine, both virtuosic and simple, and made (and released) in collaboration and via unalloyed isolation. Where did Kramer find the excellent Xan Tyler? Hidden in plain sight somewhere, making some completely different and more dance-oriented music, here employed to make melodies completely unignorable and perspicacious, the lyrics come out of her mouth in a way that makes them into objects rather than words, the kinds of things we might see on a billboard in the process of being repainted, so that one story shows through in the next story, or in which half a slogan from one promotional campaign is fused onto the newer unfinished one, and wisps of old melodies float in and out of the field, as though the dreams of these songs are masticating prior dream songs, oh, there’s a little bit of “That’s The Way I Always Heard It Should Be,”oh there’s a little bit of “Heart-Shaped Box,” but so bent out of shape by idiosyncrasies of arrangement and intention, and by the time you have identified this shred, it is shredded further, and there’s a bit of a baroque horn chart from, say, “Penny Lane,” some mellotron, some bossa nova, but then these have drifted off, and the song has passed into another realm, a brief solo, or a plangent piano figure, vanishing into a Kramerian echo field, a new song gathering where another has abruptly yielded its somnabulisms, the songs seem to refer to other songs like they might refer to dimly recollected acquaintances, persons who, in a dream allege a particular identity that they do not resemble in any way, or these songs refer to life only as life is experienced in song, always as a kind of recoiling from a faith in song, rather songcraft as a puncture wound that records the passage of time and the giving out of hope, afflicted with a kind of loss that the dream will reconfigure only a sound, or a cinematic compendium of past cinematic images, anything but a naked commentary; there is the mood of loss, some of the greatest devastation of the long career of Kramer, the architect and principal songwriter, made perfect in the dazzling and understated performance of Xan Tyler, you can imagine listening to this album while incrementally sinking into sand, you can imagine listening to this album while gangrene takes away an extremity, you can imagine listening to this album while watching a slow motion factory explosion, you can imagine listening to this album as an autocrat seizes a nation, you can imagine listening to this album as a python devours a small child, you can imagine listening to this album as the subway train you’re sitting in enters a wormhole, you can imagine listening to this album as your spouse turns into a wolverine, you can imagine listening to this album as you begin to paint a chapel ceiling using only your eyelashes. It would be the very best album for any of these things. And because all of this is true, this is the very best representation of your dreams since, well, Roy Orbison."
the aesthetic fulcrum of LET IT COME DOWN is the question of TIME itself, balancing the reckonings of Memory, Identity, and Love;
the three furnaces into which all things are dropped. Songs We Sang In Our Dreams wails from the quivering retreat unto sleep,
where the soul does its most vital work. it beckons like a drug, and holds our feet to the fires of Universal Loss, perhaps never more than
right now, in these most troubling times. Is it simply the Dream of Love we feel collapsing all around us, or is it the physical world itself?
-Kramer, April 2020
Notes on the filming of VICKY;
for his unforgettable "Screen Tests", Andy Warhol would shoot 16mm B&W film, often at 18fps, and then play back at 16fps.
or he'd shoot at 16fps and play back at 14. Andy was experimenting with Time, and with the building blocks of Memory.
his frame-rate manipulations brought a ghostliness to those little films; almost 500 of them, made between 1964 and 1966.
this cine-dynamic is the fertile soil atop which “VICKY” blossoms into what she is; the micro-expressions in micro-denials
of the character's turf battles with her opposite self; all the wins, and all the losses, of being human.
it’s all there, in this very short film, and in this song.
Andy often instructed his subjects to sit perfectly still. sometimes he also asked them to try not to blink.
i removed those obstructions for the filming of Xan Tyler, and for Vicky.
June 5, 2020
is memory really about remembering? or is it about forgetting?
we are the eternal return of trauma, the inverse marchings of time.
before You left for home. before i saturate the colours.
the memories of another future. i am cataloguing them, for You.
the future will not remember us.
it will only remember the things we create.
"FORGET" is the brutal burial of two lovers, beneath the clocktower, under falling ash.
-Kramer, May 2020