Charlie Rauh

(The above is a link to one of the tracks on an EP that was reviewed in entirety below. Stay tuned/reach out to the artist to hear more.)

If music does not (eventually) evoke empathy it has failed (or you have).  The best of music is inverted.  You are stunned/surprised/intrigued by it and the more you listen the more you want to save something in it.   Maybe just a piece, an oddity, the slight buzzing in the background.  Usually you want to take the part with you that precisely you can’t. That’s empathy.  I’ll trade you 6 of my immaterial longings for one of yours.

This is an empathetic record.  Everything about it is empathetic.  The syntax.  The tone. The title.  The timing.  All of it cumulatively questioning your capacity for empathy.  Are you empathetic?  Do you even know what empathy is?  How many of your dogs have died? How many documentaries have you watched about Thalidomide?  How many times have you given it away?  How many times have you puked on a friend’s couch by mistake?

This record wants you to think about these things but it does not let you dwell in them.  It is too beautiful.  It strives for a sound that is immemorial: our collective need to beautify loss as a final gift/song (On the one hand, Mbira Dzavadzimu.  On the other, Dies Irae).

This can be an unnecessary and/or immature thing to do if done as an act of denial (plenty of records sink into a morass of self pity while refusing to acknowledge the existential simplicity of their source).  The simpler case makes more sense: we do it because we can’t help it.  We can’t help but fill in meaning.  Thankfully, this record captures the latter.

I do not know if I would have grasped the deeper parable herein had I not read the track notes.  I do not know if it’s meaning should be grasped; if it is not better to listen to the harmonious orbit of the guitar with the ears of an innocent life.  I do know that making this record was a beautiful thing to do, and in having done so the listener is reminded that loss itself is not senseless, it is our attempting to deny it’s inevitability that makes it so.

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