|I Am All Your Own|
Ilyas Ahmed — I Am All Your Own •≈ Vybudoval si ostřejší vokální stanovisko; přivedl svůj hlas do popředí více, než kdykoliv předtím. Skladby postupují vpřed do rozšiřující se roviny odlehlosti. Obecně platí: zůstává pocit deprimujícího klidu a samoty; Ahmed je jakoby loajální k dřívějšímu materiálu, ale tentokrát — snad kvůli vřelejší povaze nových melodií — posouvá do více přívětivé, kolektivní samoty. Distenze a vrstvy, projevující se ve zvuku, nejsou v žádném případě náhodné. Hraje na 12–ti strunnou elektrickou kytaru, nahrává na 4–track rekordér, ¼ palcový pásek. Zůstává éterický, elementární, nevyhnutelný. A v teple, pozoruhodně uspokojující.
•≈ The guitar arrangements hover in the air like sun on the skin when it's winter, leaving the feeling of scantness; yet at the same time radiating just enough warmth to be remarkably satisfying.
•≈ I particularly like the crimson-deep emotionality of it all. There is a lot of similar music out there to “I Am All Your Own LP” but what sets this album apart is its potency for the right moment, the correct standpoint on a fragile pinnacle. It’s full of lateral melodic thinking that dovetails the edge of greatness and sidesteps the traps of triteness. In basic terms, it’s perfectly measured as a thought-through collection of tracks. It takes the root spice of persona and maps it onto melodic contours that don’t collapse at the fifteenth hurdle. That’s something for a folk precipice in this day; age.
Born in Pakistan
Location: Portland, Oregon
Album release: March 24 / May 19, 2015 (Vinyl)
Record Label: Immune Recordings
1 City Daze 5:27
2 Come On 4:36
3 All You Say 5:48
4 Untitled 1 3:49
5 The Last Laugh 5:18
6 Untitled 2 1:16
7 I Need to Fix My Body So I Can Light My Mind On Fire Again 4:12
8 Closer Tonight 5:20
℗ 2015 Immune Recordings
By Grayson Haver Currin; March 24, 2015; Score: 7.7
•≈ For a decade, the songs of peripatetic guitarist and singer Ilyas Ahmed have been mistaken for atmospheres. Recorded in a cloud of echo and shrouded by the distortion endemic to lo–fi equipment, Ahmed’s pieces used to feel distant, transmitted from some faraway plane and warped en route. Though "Black Midas", from his excellent 2005 debut, was a gorgeous duet for piano and guitar, the recording added enough ghostly essence for the result to imply witchcraft. At its core, "Stained Sky", from his 2012 debut for Immune Recordings, was a chugging power ballad, but with the chords overloading the microphone and Ahmed’s voice interred by static, it became otherworldly, less a hit than a haze. "The term singer–songwriter generally conjures up negative connotations," he once told Tiny Mix Tapes. "I do consider what I do to be songs for sure, although my definition of songs might be different than others’."
•≈ Ahmed’s new album and second for Immune, I Am All Your Own, might shrink that divide. Many of these eight songs are some of his most lucid and communicative, pushing the tunes beyond their surrounding textures. During "The Last Laugh", he repeats a short, beautiful phrase on electric guitar and sings softly above it, his harmonies out of time in a way that recalls the narcotic phasing of Elliott Smith’s early records. Room noises and equipment hums populate the background. But at last, the song — a bittersweet ode to a dying relationship — feels central, not just a vestige of the process. "All You Say" is another big Ahmed ballad, with heavy, slow strums of a few easy themes. The music wobbles, as if the tape machine were unsteady, but Ahmed takes care to play softly enough for the rendering to remain clear. Even when an electric guitar roars in for the second half, Ahmed tucks it just beneath the vocals and acoustic, letting it accent and illustrate his emotional disappointment without overwhelming it.
•≈ The adjustment seems incremental for Ahmed, a matter of moving a few knobs and adjusting some microphones. But the effect is revelatory. Ahmed has often collaborated and toured with Grouper’s Liz Harris, and his shift here recalls the move Harris made for last year’s Ruins, stepping from beneath the din and drone to play plaintive confessionals at the piano. So it goes with I Am All Your Own: Ahmed’s voice has never seemed so approachable and assured.
•≈ Perhaps because the heartsickness of these songs was too profound to hide, Ahmed seems newly compelled to connect. For all of its intricacy, Ahmed’s music never felt vulnerable so much as exploratory. On I Am All Your Own, he seems to have experimented enough to know that his structures and sentiments are strong enough to support themselves. "I Need to Fix My Body So I Can Light My Mind on Fire Again" is a tender, frank lament about how our neuroses disrupt important relationships. Picking a 12–string and tapping a tambourine, his slight falsetto breaking just above the riff, he produces something like a Toad the Wet Sprocket or Goo Goo Dolls hit from an alternate universe, a place that Ahmed once seemed embarrassed to admit he even visited.
•≈ I Am All Your Own does reduce the once–beguiling mystery of Ahmed’s music. •≈ What you hear with these numbers is mostly what you get, with surface noise and sonic mess to penetrate. Some may find that the new transparency makes his work a bit pedestrian, the work of another guy with a guitar and a few chords sharing simple sadness. But Ahmed’s senses of song and arrangement remain highly idiosyncratic, where verses spill into choruses and solos in unpredictable fashion. •≈ Listening back to Ahmed’s early work, that has always been the case, but he’s finally resolved to let us in on his secret. •≈ http://pitchfork.com/Description:
•≈ Ilyas’ music is in service to dream investigation, at once still and impermanent as an August cloud and then sweeping like a strange breeze through your thoughts. I Am All Your Own will wrap you in serenity but is aware that any second now you may escape. •≈ Music of a sweet morning, and unforgettable.” — Thurston Moore, London
Ilyas Ahmedʼs songs exist in a sublime moment of suspended animation, calmly dwelling in between modes of music making both timeless and contemporary — deeply imbued with stillness and peace. On I Am All Your Own, his first album in three years, Ahmed employs strategies gleaned from experimental and ambient musicians, such as Lawrence English and Fripp & Eno, and applies them to song–based guitar music. Building slowly and purposefully, each individual track adds to the albumʼs overall, scrupulously–forged contour. His most direct work, Ahmed’s voice is brought to the fore and unobscured. Like the best work of his friend and collaborator Liz Harris (Grouper), as well as classic touchstones such as the Velvet Undergroundʼs self–titled third album and David Crosbyʼs “If I Could Only Remember My Name,” Ahmed’s latest is sentimental and emotive, while remaining hushed and understated. I Am All Your Own is a record for late nights and early mornings, those times spent in solitude and reflection.
•≈ Written and recorded entirely on 12–string and electric guitars, I Am All Your Own was recorded using a 4–track cassette recorder with few overdubs and mixed to ¼ inch tape, exuding intimacy and homespun atmosphere. An impressive balance lies between the lush atmospherics he conjures and the sparse arrangements of the songs themselves. As the LP unfolds, a narrative also begins to take shape: the protagonists begin their day peacefully after a long night, they come to a realization that the events of the previous night will change their life forever, and eventually dissolve into a states of regret and eventually acceptance. The guitar–based tracks are interspersed with two untitled interludes of heavy drone and celestial drift — a reminder of Ahmedʼs days as a key, and prolific, figure in the international experimental underground of the past decade. However, even these emanate a clarity that is new to Ahmedʼs work, and which makes I Am All Your Own seem like the opening of a new chapter of his career.
•≈ Born in Pakistan, Ahmed moved to America at a young age and wandered throughout his teenage years, eventually settling in his current home of Portland, OR. •≈ The songs on I Am All Your Own were thoroughly tested in front of live audiences in the Pacific Northwest and at the venerable Hopscotch Festival in North Carolina before being laid to tape in Portland, then mixed at Old Standard Sound. Concurrently with writing and recording I Am All Your Own, Ahmed has been working with Jonathan Seilaff and Matt Carlson of Golden Retriever on a new project called Dreamboat. Ahmed will tour extensively behind I Am All Your Own, a rare treat indeed.
Sonia de Jager, March 4th, 2015 12:13
By Erik Otis, Posted by Sound Colour Vibration on March 23, 2015
Sound Colour Vibration Interview
w/ Ilyas Ahmed, Conducted by Pouya G. Asadi and Erik Otis, on June 22, 2011
|I Am All Your Own|