NICK SOULSBY – Thurston Moore – We Sing a New Language
Soulsby presents us with an in-depth study of how and why many of Moore’s projects came to be and what the intention and motivation behind them were. As opposed to merely listing and touching on Moore’s musical endeavours, Soulsby goes all the way and discusses all the different creative processes behind them, the recordings, the live shows, the relations between the different members, the actual releases (be they on tape, vinyl, CD, or CD-R), and so on and so forth. Everything is based on a long line of interviews with nearly every participator, band member, or collaborator of Moore’s. There is a lot to digest and absorb here, folks. The book also provides us with an interesting and thought-provoking insight into the minds of the many artists and musicians that Moore has collaborated with over the years and inevitably raises questions in relation to what constitutes art and what music (or sound, if you will) really is. How do we define that? In that sense, "We Sing a New Language" poses just as many questions as it answers, which is obviously a beautiful thing. It also manages to place Moore’s work in a larger context such as the whole experimental New York scene in the late 70s and 80s and what transpired within that milieu back then.
Not every project is amazing, though, and some sections and parts of the book fail to inspire or engage me as such, simply because some interview subjects have very little to say or reveal about the project or music in question. However, that is no fault of Soulsby’s; everything is presented in a chronological order by year and I suppose it is inevitable that certain bands and musical outlets of Moore’s are less compelling to listen to and read about. On the other hand, it is brilliant to read about the experimental black metal band Twilight as well as Moore’s collaborations with renowned artists such as Jim Sclavunos, Lasse Marhaug, and Michael Gira. The majority of interviews are luckily quite cool and it is pretty clear that many of Moore’s cohorts are deeply invested in their art.
Regardless of whether you are into black metal, noise, free improvisation, psychotic jazz, weird experimental soundscapes, and pretty much everything in between those different genres and styles of music, I dare say that this book will open your eyes to a lot of obscure and overlooked albums and releases involving Moore that are worth seeking out and immersing oneself in. It is both inspiring and admirable that Moore has never looked back and continues to search for and explore all manner of things and ideas outside of the rather bleak reality that we all inhabit by means of music and lyrics, which is exactly what "We Sing a New Language" nicely illustrates. This is a solid and well-written oral discography of Thurston Moore’s and worth checking out.