MoM009 - G.S. Schray - First Appearance (Last Resort)
Akron, Ohio is home to a neighborhoodly circle of musicians with an ear for deft, unwound, and uncategorizable sound-worlds that have recently been observed through the loving lens of London's Last Resort label. G.S. Schray’s Gabriel was the label’s debut offering, followed by Aqueduct Ensemble's inimitable ambient-jazz gift Improvisations on an Apricot, a collaboration album featuring Keith Freund and his pianist / piano tuner neighbor Stu.
This is not actually the artist’s first appearance, though feels like a newly sighted apparition. Schray has been making and sharing music for a long time, but save for Gabriel and a 2012 album on Bark & Hiss, he’s always followed a model of self-release. First Appearance touches some of the same areas as its predecessor, placing understated, moving, organic instrumentation across a lush, warm backdrop.
The album also draws on elements of humor and surprise, with song titles like “His Peculiar Livestreams,” which in its last minute transforms into a New Age dub tune; and “Duskers, Decloaked,” which features trills of orchestral toy piano on its repeated melodic pop-hook. Its primary mood though, is wistfulness - ambling like a solitary rememberer through the dusty suburban streets, across brown sports-fields and empty parking lots evoking vanished youth.
First Appearance joins the ranks of our MoM (Music of the Month) series, the first of 2019. A limited run of 30 Obi strips designed by Will Work for Good and riso-printed by Keegan Mills-Cooke will accompany each LP purchased from Commend.