For MoM’s (Music of the Month) return to form, Commend zones in on Josiah Steinbrick's Liquid / Devotion & Tongue Street Blue, the latest collection of work from the Los Angeles-based artist and multi-instrumentalist, courtesy of his Full Bloom imprint and the prolific Hands in the Dark.
Surveying a long history of world-building in avant-garde music, the palindromic sequence of Liquid / Devotion & Tongue Street Blue’s covers a wide swathe of Steinbrick's sonic ground, its obscure beauty and rugged serenity on full display. Pieces like "Blue Age" and "Touch III" evoke an ode, or a torch song, to earth itself; meditations of spaces we missed, and the spaces we will meet.
From its beginning, "Heyloo/Snakeskin" steers the album into craggy terrain; jutting polyrhythms and focused, ritualized compositions that tremble in place the closer you listen. On "Hybridise,” rhythms steam and bass bubbles, filling up the space with sound and heat. Every piece of Devotion exists as its own ecosystem, rendering and displaying itself in different ways for the observer to contemplate.
The centerpiece of the Devotion experience is the pairing of "Drip In Your Footprints" and "Vivid / Tile Vid." A glowing two-part movement, each casting light on different shadows of memory. The former posits a potential path, while the latter reimagines an arrival from what we've left behind. The two pieces pivot Devotion's palindromic structure, where by the end of the album, we have walked across Steinbrick’s entire stage. Looking out, we see how obscured the landscape has become, the familiar spiraling into control.
Liquid / Devotion & Tongue Street Blue is an album for shifting scenery and senses. A world constructed by Steinbrick, whose surface is similar to ours, with a core that burns colorful, wild and free. A run of 30 Obi strips, designed by Will Work for Good and riso-printed by Keegan Mills-Cooke, will accompany each copy purchased from Commend.