Label: Meadows Heavy Recorders
Release: Further Translations
Date: November 10th, 2023
Mastered By: Kenneth James Gibson
Artwork By: Cynthia Bernard
On August 27th 2023, I received the very sad news of the untimely passing of Brian McBride at the age of 53. There is so much more that I can say about the emotional turmoil that this has caused in me and the entire music community. But today, I won’t talk about the darkness in which the world is left with one more going-out light. Instead, I’ll celebrate his music, which is still among us, flickering with energy to light and show the way. “Far From Home” is the “Diminished Stories Mix” which Brian made for Kenneth James Gibson‘s Further Translations album, collecting remixes by the likes of Jack Dangers, Christopher Willits, Scanner, Awakened Souls, and a few others, reworking pieces from Gibson’s previous albums (in this case, “Far From Home” appeared on his 2018 release In The Fields Of Nothing). Gibson met McBride in the 90s in Austin, and the duo started a band, Bell Gardens, in 2009, exploring “the realms of Americana, chamber pop, folk, and psychedelic pop.” You can read Headphone Commute’s Two and a Half Questions with Brian McBridge from 2010, where he mentions Gibson and this project. For this remix, McBride begins with shimmering waves of wistful strings, which, after their introduction, subside into a bit of darkness, maybe sadness, and introspective grief, the way my mood turns every time I think about this world without the many great musicians that we lost along the way. Or, is it possible that we mourn for ourselves, and music is the way to leave a piece of us behind and be immortal, even for a bit? In any case, I’ll close my eyes and play this gorgeous music, and for a moment, I’ll pretend that Brian’s still around. To me, that is as real as the rest…
Narrative vignettes are tied together in the inward-fowing expanses of McBride’s “Far From Home” rework. Glassine drones turn to vapor, swelling beyond borders and into the night. A sense of dread lurks within resonant hollows, twisted into pensive melodies that disappear in the seconds before taking hold. McBridge continues to turn the screws, building tension through changing sonic felds. As one story burns out, another sparks to life.
The album with all ten remixes will be officially out on November 10, 2023, via Meadows Heavy Recorders. A week later, on November 17th, there will be a Record Release Show in Los Angeles at 2220 Arts + Archives with Kenneth James Gibson, Awakened Souls and more. Click here for tickets and more info. And look, I totally recognise that this entire write-up should be more about Gibson than McBride, but given the circumstances, I hope that you’ll forgive me for my quick diversion. Enjoy each other’s music.