“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a Jerusalem-born, Berlin-based artist whose haunting debut album “In Free Fall” is out now on Thrill Jockey Records. Maya Shenfeld is a prestidigitational sonic adventurer, whose oeuvre oscillates wilfully wildly between elegaic electronics, driving drone and lithe layering where the space between is as important as the chords it strikes. It’s atmospheric and yet tangible and tactile.
“In Free Fall” is named after an essay by Hito Steyeri whose description of free fall speaks directly to the shape-shifting creativity of Shenfield’s work: “The horizon quivers in a maze of collapsing lines and you may lose any sense of above and below, of before and after, of yourself and your boundaries… with the loss of horizon also comes the departure of a stable paradigm of orientation, which has situated concepts of subject and object, of time and space, throughout modernity. In falling, the lines of the horizon shatter, twirl around, and superimpose.”
Shenfeld who also makes sonic installations, originally composed the lead track “Silver” for harpischord but it has transcended it’s origin to comprise a celestial drone, like an interstellar siren to a sentient cosmos. And with such cerebral touchpoints, i was keen to find out Maya’s song choice for our feature, so welcome to these digital pages, Maya Shenfeld…
The limber physicality of Maya’s music is at the heart of its creation, and she has said of this “I’ve always been taken by the way music can seemingly stretch, bend, and even break time, its ability to touch something in you, emotionally, and the fact that it’s a resolutely physical experience.”
But what music has recently struck a chord in Shenfield’s very being during these extremely trying times?
Without further ado, this is Maya Shenfeld’s “song for ewe”…
“Charlie Megira’s Tomorrow’s Gone
Shortly after winter-solstice and with a new wave of infections rising, I constantly shift these days between doom scrolling, inability to make plans, and bouts of productivity, Sehnsucht for sunny days in Jerusalem (where I’m originally from), and some moments of stillness, of doing nothing. It feels difficult to strike the right balance, or find what some people have been referring to as the “new normal”. If there’s one song that captures this spectrum of emotions, for me, it’s Charlie Megira’s Tomorrow’s Gone.
Megira’s surf rock guitar, bittersweet melodies, and hopelessly romantic lyrics [“…no, no, and you should’t/Don’t say maybe/Maybe today, maybe tomorrow/Tomorrow’s gone…”] remind of a scene from a David Lynch film. I love how timeless this song is, and especially the sound of the rockabilly guitar, knowing it was written in the early 2000s, but it could just as well be dated to the 1960s.
Sadly, I never got to see Megira play live, but his music was played non-stop at Uganda, a tiny off-the-grid bar in Jerusalem I used to go to before I moved to Berlin in 2010. And knowing that Megira spent his last years in Berlin, before his tragic and untimely death, there’s something about listening to his music that seems to connect the burning sun and intensity of the Middle East and the dark Berlin winter days.”
THANKS TO MAYA AND TO MATT FIDDLER AT THRILL JOCKEY RECORDS
Banner photo by Tobias Zielony
“In Free Fall” is out now – you can get it from Thrill Jockey website here
Or on Bandcamp here…
Maya plays support to Colleen in London next month:
Mar. 19th – London, UK – Kings Place w/ Colleen
I played “Silver” and Maya’s song pick by Charlie Megira on the latest episode of Velvet Sheep radio (check out the link below) – right near the end of the second hour…