Let's face it, most music isn't as engrossing as we make it out to be. Sometimes I'm just so excited that I've happened upon something that isn't shit and I elevate it beyond its rightful level. I think we're all guilty of that. It's not a bad thing, either - that initial rush of joy brought on by connection is one of the most profound experiences in life, and it should be encouraged at every turn.
Nevertheless, sometimes you absent-mindedly press play and forget your self-imposed rule regarding an excess of superlatives, instead engaging with the music on an incredibly personal level that, quite frankly, feels a little uncomfortable.
Danielle Fricke's burrow sounds like my life. Moreover, I'd wager that it sounds like yours too. I adored Snow Mantled Love's Conversations LP, although it made me terrifyingly sad. Its not-quite-cathartic crescendos flickered briefly against the cold and then retreated, beaten back by the ominous spectre of suffering that dwelt within. I was eager to see what was next for Fricke (after 'Haunt This House' and 'The Well'), but for some reason I set this new EP in motion with the intention of getting some other things done while it was on. Of course, this proved impossible. I was suddenly confronted with a series of memories which I had no idea were still within me - vivid split-second recollections of mundane childhood activities in which I could actually remember how I felt at that time. There wasn't anything I could do except shut up, sit down, close my eyes and turn it up.
It wasn't something I could grasp and retain, but instead a distinct evocation of my early youth and the explorative sensations that were emerging from that time.
When I was about six years old, I went to a forest with my parents; it was during the autumn and I was running through the piles of leaves that had built up. As I scattered them in my wake, I glanced up at the seemingly inestimable height of the trees and determined that this must be what heaven was like. Now, I'm not trying to suggest that this was some epiphanic confrontation of mortality from a quiet, six-year-old boy, and I'm certainly not religious now. I think I just felt safe, the whole place smelled like the natural world and I really, really liked kicking leaves around. The point is that it was burrow which had given this experience back to me, for which I can never be thankful enough.
It wasn't a trick, either. While the EP feels like an inherently nostalgic piece of work, operating within the vague conventions of non-diegetic television soundtracks with its analogue crackle, resonant piano and ambient waves, it is passive in the way it communicates. There's no cynical building of layers to mimic struggle, climax and resolution. It's a set of compositions which develops organically, away from conventional linear structure. When it does spread out and seek new territory, it does so at a rate with which you can keep pace and understand.
There might be a melancholy tone to it, but burrow isn't going to get you down. It actually makes me very happy. I'm so wary of the encroachment of nostalgia into my life and I constantly have to remind myself to look past its allure. I don't see that getting any easier, either. Running in parallel to this, however, is a desire to protect everything I have ever experienced and keep it close to me at all times. I want to remember everything, regardless of how impractical and confusing that is. For every 20 minutes spent listening to burrow, I kind of feel like I can do that.
Note: There's a physical version of burrow on Bandcamp that's limited to 50 copies, which should be sought out and purchased at your very next opportunity. Along with everything Snow Mantled Love released. This was supposed to be a spotlight on Danielle Fricke and her music in general, but the burrow EP kind of ran away with it. Sorry about that.