When an artist talks about how his album was born out of one of those moments where you “look back at your life,” I almost feel like I need to tread lightly. Deep and fragile personal feelings and all that. Plus I’m always reminded of the Robert Fripp quote, “Whenever a musician is interested in self-expression you know it’s gonna suck.” Luckily in this instance, The Wind Blows Summer from the Trees by The Glimmer Room (aka Andy Condon) manages to not suck while still being acceptably and distinctly personal. I have to admit that in my first listens, Condon’s fairly heavy load of field recordings threatened to put me off. Children’s voices, cawing crows, bleating sheep (“Little Puffy Clouds,” anyone?), carnival music that gives way to some clog-stomping folk dance… At first it all felt like it was being given too much prominence, and it took some getting used to. After a few repeat listens, although they were still a bit up front for my personal tastes, they began to make more sense. What had once seemed almost like random drop-ins took on place and purpose. What also helped me change my attitude is that the foundation of the whole thing is a set of truly beautiful pieces that vary from very soft ambient drifts to melodic songs bearing light touches of rhythm. There are long, field-recording-free stretches where Condon opens up his sounds and presents wide, gentle vistas that are often quite breathtaking–to the point where I began to feel like I wanted more of these, alone and unaccosted. With the extra sounds in place, however, what comes through is the smooth forward motion of a narrative in sound. Condon lets his inner reflections rise and define themselves and the listener is pulled in by the depth and complexity of what’s being said.
Condon remarks on his web site: “…never before have I put so much of myself into a composition…” The effort pays off. The Wind Blows Summer from the Trees is an intimate piece with a strong impressionistic streak. C0ndon’s voice is firm and focused, and the more you listen, the more you both hear and understand. At a scant 49 minutes, it’s a pleasantly brief tour of the past 43 years of Andy Condon’s life, and one you’ll likely enjoy.
Available from The Glimmer Room’s web site.