Album: DM Stith, Heavy Ghost, (Asthmatic Kitty)
Bleakly oblique: this album will haunt you beyond its end
Sunday 08 March 2009
David Michael Stith is descended from a long line of music academics and choir conductors, and grew up in an "intensely religious" and musical Indiana family.
Mentored by Sufjan Stevens, who signed Stith to his Asthmatic Kitty label, DM Stith has released a debut album which is arcane and esoteric from the off, a record that knows more than it's letting on. Stith's music, made with cellos and pianos but also the creaking of wooden doors, has the uncomfortable intimacy of Antony and the Johnsons (to whom he is often compared), but also the baroque strangeness of Bowie in his Brechtian Baal phase. Heavy Ghost conjures the woozy, illogical and episodic feel of nightmares, a mood that haunts you beyond its end. The closest thing to a sunny pop song is "Morning Glory Cloud"; the rest is as bleak as it is oblique. It's also the only album this year that will use the word "oblation". It is, in Stith's own words, "a misty light, imprecise and still, from a jagged bright sickle moon".
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