Cardamom TimesOctober 9, 2015 Mexican Summer
In 2015 we find the templates of love lurching over our shoulders, exoskeletons once inhabited with comfort. Are we, in our digital age, only being nostalgic as we search for the same idyllic love our predecessors have talked and written about so clearly? As the mediums of courtship change, does romance inherently change its meaning and function? As we gather new modes to function, are our old modes ‘outdated’ or just re-invigorated? In Cardamom Times, Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) pronounces these questions clearly like a plea to know where we can once again find ‘timeless’ love.
Different to the sprawling studio affair of Weyes Blood’s 2014 epic The Innocents, Cardamom Times was recorded onto reel-to-reel tape at Mering’s home studio in Rockaway Beach, New York. Like the area, which itself has recently been devastated by natural causes and is regaining it’s bearings, Mering has created a language of dystopian love. A place where hurt, comfort, past, and future are finding themselves together, not necessarily out of mutual affection, but because ‘this is the way things are.’
As with her past recordings, these songs echo her flirtatiousness with the classics and of the avant-garde; channeling the domestic hymns of Sybille Baer through the lens of Baltimore’s recent experimentalism; the devotional drones of Terry Riley accompanied by the voices of the Sacre Coeur; the confrontational words of Anais Nin along with the warm embrace of St. Augustine. Mering’s search for true, timeless love, is accompanied by her caravan of ancestors who channel through her like spectres caught on magnetic tape.
Using DIY recording techniques with a horde of equipment, Cardamom Times alters tropes of classicist folk arrangements with echo chambers, flutes, keyboards, and manipulated tapes. On Take You There she performs a stark and deep call of longing over minimalist organ, on “Cardamom” a secret infatuation is addressed through delicate guitar playing and flute. The instruments are both vintage and contemporary, piercing and soothing.
On the cover of the record there is the image of a desolate paradise, a bay surrounded by rust; foliage embraced with decay. A couple is laying on the ground, motionless, caught in a comfort beyond time. They aren’t touching, they aren’t even necessarily open about their mutual affection, yet they are held within the moment. ‘Love is fate, an ocean. Only, how your nature moves in me. Your mind, feels so close to mine. Losing touch with time, you take me there. I’m so scared, you make me shine.’ Mering sings on Take You There. When love serves as an escape from the boundaries of time, where do we find ourselves when we have it?
Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight in our current markets, yet only a very small amount is needed to impart large amounts of flavor and aroma. It makes one wonder what it’s like to live in Cardamom Times; times saturated in jewels of sensory abundance. Weyes Blood’s newest foray provides us a glimpse of what this might feel like; to live in a space of timeless love and longing, surrounded by the decay of time that perpetually embraces us.
Artwork by Shane Butler.
Photo by Sam Fleischner.
Layout by Rob Carmichael/SEEN.
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|1 Maybe Love|
|2 Take You There|
|3 Cardomom PLAY|
|4 In The Beginning|