Album Review: Thurston Moore - Screen Time
Reviewed by Patrick O'Reilly
The pandemic and lockdown’s of 2020 were pretty unique events in the history of mankind. For many they were a time of reflection and meditation and it seems that Thurston Moore did plenty of both during this time, ultimately recording this series of instrumental guitar pieces.
They make up a concept album of sorts, one which addresses issues raised by the pandemic, issues of humanity, co-existence and equality. It seeks to highlight the issue of digital screen time and its effect on communities, particularly youth and their relation with societal problems. Do the youth of today spend too much time in front of screens? Does this detach them from the issues affecting the world and also pull them away from the physical connection to books and other art?
Musically it is a very calming and serene album, perfect for musing on the issues just mentioned. Although a guitar piece there are hints of bells and chimes and the whole album comes across as very crystalline in tone. The opening three tracks have a minimalist start before building layer upon layer of sound into intricate patterns, like crystals growing inside a rock. Track 4, 'The View', has a warmer feel to it, deeper, bass tones mixing with the higher notes to create an intimate dreamlike atmosphere whilst track 5, 'The Neighbor', forgoes notes to an extent to concentrate on a radiant drone that soothes and relaxes. The standout track for me is 'The Upstairs' which could be the soundtrack to a forgotten Italian Giallo thriller movie, with its tense, anxiety inducing chords and strumming patterns bringing to mind the work of Goblin. The album closes with 'The Realization' which filters everything gone before and manages to provide a recap of the experience of the previous nine tracks.
I found this album very deep and resonating, both in a personal sense in that it brought to mind personal issues I experienced during lockdown and also the physical properties of the music as it reverberated in my ears and head, and if that is the kind of experience that appeals to you then I recommend picking this album up
I would recommend this album in particular for fans of – Phillip Glass, Oren Ambarchi, Sunn O))) and Goblin