In-keeping with the Japanese label Flau’s meandrous catalogue of indolent musical atmospheres, the Brazilian sound artist Liz Christine’s Sweet Mellow Cat is another laconic, subtle suite of curiosity.
Curating the most relevant and harmonic audio collages from the last few years, Christine has produced a diaphanous but haunting narrative, “a delicate movie for the ear and mind.” Using a method that’s very similar to artists like Wobbly and People Like Us, she fashions stories and songs from soundclips, films and old records to tell a new story, using nothing but found and disregarded material.
Christine is inspired by a myriad of both connected and unconnected sources, Buñuel, Truffaut, Monroe, Garbo and past forgotten murmurs of jazz, all of which play their part in this collection’s unfolding sound-experiments.
Personally rooted in mystery, the album’s muse seems to be a feline protagonist who crops-up and plaintively purrs and meows throughout a soundtrack of distant thunderstorms; oscillating obsolete machinery; cut-up staggering orchestras, and white noise. Difficult to fathom or read, Christine’s dampened ambient musings flow without interruption – except for the sudden jolt of sound levels – and sound like lost memories recorded on the ‘other side’ of a wistful séance.
The structure is amorphous with only the occasional Hollywood and chic European snatch of symbolic dialogue, and Dylan Thomas-esque poetic descriptions, to guide us – many of which I had trouble placing, though no one could miss the synonymous Bogart lines.
Not entirely eroded of musical accompaniment, sweet Tropicana loops, Tibetan chimes, resonating echoes of sitar and brushed jazz snare all waft gently from ear-to-ear, alluding to a panoramic movement through geography and history.
A dedicated Liz Christine LP is a rarity. Before this release you’d have to dig deep to find her sculpted audio passages on a miscellaneous spread of compilations and projects. Now you can finally lose yourself for a full hour in her beguiling swathed imagined worlds.
Released 4th December 2012