Sound sculptor Joe Frawley turns his attentions to the story of Sleeping Beauty on his new release, A Hundred Years. Presented as a series of non-linear visions of the tale, the disc wanders its way through such diverse waypoints as a French opera from the early 1800s, a Japanese novella from the 1960s, and Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s long poem, “Jenny.” In Frawley’s fashion, even within their own moments these pieces are chopped, splayed, peppered with aural buckshot and rendered down into jump-cut dream-moments that may or may not actually exist. One of Frawley’s devices that I truly enjoy is his tendency to take a vocal snippet–of which there are many here–and cut it off at a point where a point feels like it’s about to be made. Between this and blowing up simple moments like a drawn breath or a single consonant in a way that imbues them with an almost uncomfortably voyeuristic sense of catching someone in an intimate moment, a great majority of the impact of the music here comes from the voices. Whispers, recitations, moments…all worked around a melancholic and, if you’ll pardon the pun, sleepy piano line. This piano is another Frawley signature; it has a wonderfully old sound, bordering on frail at points, that draws the ear. The composer suggests that A Hundred Years should be played on shuffle to allow the listener to create their own unique “mix” of the storyline. This is also an excellent way to genuinely listen to what Frawley is doing in the work because it allows you to come at it from different perspectives each time. Multiple straightforward listens would breed a familiarity that might have you missing elements–which would be a shame, considering how much is packed into each moment.
A Hundred Years is being presented in a very limited physical run of 50 copies. It may also be downloaded.
Available at Joe Frawley’s Bandcamp page.