Seriously, how long ago did I buy this little gem on Type Records? [checks excel spreadsheet] Almost 4 fucking rotations around the sun!!?! I’m glad I possess the fiendish fervor for vinyl that I do, which comes with it a feline reluctancy to sell many, if any, of my records. If I didn’t, I would have swindled myself out of such a joyous little jewel such as Sanso-xtro’s Sentimentalist. Now that I have fully cultivated, seasoned and slow-baked my love and affection for Ambient music(s) and the purely weird, creepy Hauntology, this album makes so much more sense. I clearly remember the day I bought it. I was at Easy Street Records on lower Queene Anne; it caught my eye because it had the trademark Type sticker on the cellophane. They didn’t have a listening copy on CD at the counter, so I bought it on good faith, as an experiment of musical expeditionism that I am apt to wander into. When I got home that evening, in my starkly lit one-bedroom apartment, cold from the encroaching winter night outside, I put it on first (honestly, I don’t remember what else I bought that day…or I don’t know how to rearrange my excel spreadsheet to show by date). I do remember feeling as though it were disappointing. I was focused on the use of plucked string instruments. I prefer bowed or hammered over plucked, it’s just my thang. What I didn’t pay attention to was the fabulous attention to detailed stereo-spectrum use and mental-patient-jittery looping tactics. Or the subtle, openly-mic’ed percussion, including a trap kit that was utilized in an almost DJ Shadow manner. Think big, yet approachable kick drum with spare crash cymbals and nice, popping snare and tom.
Sanso-xtro, known to her relatives as Melissa Agate, also displays a keen ear for subtle electronics, which work in concert with the live and looped elements to highlight their intricate insanity rather than muddy it with stereotypical tics and utterances.
So, I am now listening to this record for only the second time since welcoming it into my family 4 years ago and am absolutely loving it. The fortunate thing for me is that Agate still has yet to produce another album (as far as I can tell) in that time. I guess I’ll have time to really get to know Sentimentalist before she throws another platter out there.
As for trusting my instincts? This was a random ‘I haven’t listened to that in a long time‘ pick from the shelves and it has paid off ten fold.