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Anne Garner – Dear Unknown: 8 songs with Gothic neo-romanticism

The English Anne Garner signs a superb record with Dear Unknown and registers as a possible missing link between Elizabeth Frazer and Jonsi, as a possible translation of the sound of the mist. Imagine Liz Harris freed from her austerity inclinations and you can imagine the magic that emerges from this vital disc.

© Sharn

Why are we looking for this sad, sluggish and melancholy music? What do we find in these musical pieces that we do not find elsewhere. Perhaps there is something like a reminiscence in these laments, a resurgence of the mother’s arms which reassure, which console, which encompass us and grip us. Arms that contain us, words that make us realize that there is always something sadder than oneself, more dramatic than one’s own view of oneself. But reducing music into two categories would be too simplistic. Basically on one side the music of life and on the other those of contemplation. The happy ones and the sad ones… The world is not so Manichean, it is neither black nor white but it is gray like Robert Smith’s cats were in other times. And if instead of this somewhat simplistic categorization, we replaced it with a back and forth game between this music from within and that from outside. These musics of the collective and those of the individual, those of sharing and that of the ego. Sometimes these two currents meet like a river crossing which is lost in the ocean. The sea is salty from the sand which constitutes it but retains the softness of the water of the stream. We find, for example, among Pet Shop Boys or even at New Order this game of opposites, this confrontation of antagonistic forces, sadness and feverishness for example.

English Anne Garner, she has chosen her camp. It will be that of contemplation and looking within. His music is never sad or happy but it is never neutral. It is somewhat made up of one and the other of these two feelings which forge human meteorology. Another nuance that we find in the ambiances of the lady is this absence of choice between an incarnated femininity and a sublimated childhood. This is undoubtedly what makes this record so moving. Abandoning an austere or Jansenist dimension that suits so well Liz Harris of Group, Anne Garner plays with the limits, with the excesses, with what could make these laments fall into a self-sufficient miserabilism. Except that one cannot deny the sincerity of the suffering that one perceives on this superb disc, the visceral character of this pain which ends up rhyming with sweetness as the nerves endure discomfort, boredom and sadness. . It’s a bit like when you’ve cried too much, there’s a moment when the tears stop flowing, when you’re sterile from all sorrow, porous to the hope that wavers in the dark.

Let the one rise
Who throws the stone at them
They only know of love
That the verb to love
On the bridge there is nothing left
Just a light mist
It is forgotten in silence
Those who hoped

Jacques Brel – The Desperate

Those who will not understand this disc will be those who are surrounded by this blind confidence in their strengths, those whom the certainty of everything serves as a path and a compass, those who live in contempt and distance from those they are. We, the multitude, will understand each of the words, the inflections ofAnne Garner like so many outstretched hands, ghosts of our lost hopes, ectoplasms of our extinguished lights. There is also a dimension that we cannot forget to mention in Anne Garneran exacerbated femininity, something of a femme fatale, a vamp devoid of any posture, any pose, any vulgarity.

Except that this vamp would be more like a Mater Dolorosa, a pagan Madonna. A bit like the American Chrysta Bell recently crossed with Marc Collins the time of a disc of covers of Priest, Anne Garner plays with expressionist lighting, with cold wave torpor but also with the ethereal character of the melodies sung by the diaphanous Julee Cruise in the movies of David Lynch as on the wispy and tortuous Besides. There is something about Mystery Of Love reinterpreted by Anthony Hegarty in this controlled dramaturgy, there is something almost Jazz, almost Trip Hop in these eight precious songs.

Seems a long time you’ve been gone
feels strange
Sometimes I wake into your hand
On my face
Bringing me back to when we would play
golden days
Laughing and wiping tears away

Anne Garner- Alma

Anne Garner is part of this big family of people who doubt, who apologize for being in the world. A bit like the distant cousins ​​of No Man, it asserts itself in a progressive evaporation. We could also include it in this Gothic neo-romanticism, that of a Michael Cashmore ex Nature And Organization and close to David Tibet of Current93. Except that we don’t hear repetitive patterns worthy of a Dark Folk in the English but more sounds that owe more to the dream pop sphere. The music ofAnne Garner is a music of paroxysmal feeling, of catharsis, of self-sacrifice. Sharing is at the center of this search that one feels as eminently painful as in certain moments such as this culminating point, this summit that is Alma, a heartbreaking tribute to the mother of the composer who died a few years ago. This lament would be like trying to climb an Everest made of sand and matter that crumbles under our fingers, our hands seize the void and wander in urgency, our legs and our feet meet only porous and fleeing. Yet the summit is within reach, within reach of hope. It will be hard not to be gripped by this heartbreaking song as Gem Club could do it with Polly on this somewhat forgotten disc that is In Roses (2014).

There is something funereal in the music ofAnne Garner but not of an absolutely monochromatic funeral. Nope, Dear Unknown like the other discs ofAnne Garner is a celebration of life, of the breath that continues to inhabit us until the last moment. Nothing surprising to see this collection of songs begin with the single voice ofAnne Garnerthis song like a breath on the title which gives its name to the album.

What makes this disc bearable, what distances it from any inner quarrel of ego is this light which it is permanently imbued with, this play of inspiration then expiration, this metronomic rhythm of a beating heart , this throbbing of a wave that swells then dies in the foam.

All in all, a precious work.

Greg Bod

Anne Garner – Dear Unknown
Label: Slowcraft
Released on April 01, 2022

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