Typical. You wait years for an album of apiologically-oriented experimental ambient & suddenly, despite or conceivably because of Colony Collapse Disorder, two bumble through on near-matching flight paths - both outstanding & each enhancing already strong years their classic labels (see LMYE's 2009 pantheon) are once again racking up. With the blissy buzz of Koen Holtkamp's Gravity/Bees (Thrill Jockey; coverage) still reverberating, Brian McBride's ravishing, mournful The Effective Disconnect surfaces via the still firing - consider this year's output leading up to this 150th release - kranky.
TED is from the soundtrack to the important documentary The Vanishing of the Bees (trailer below). You can still hear the serenity & hopefulness McBride aimed for originally. But the piece's fascination is in how these are entwined with & sometimes overcome by lament - appropriately, given the alarming subject. Although not one of the album's darkest moments, Supposed Essay below bears out this ambivalence.
McBride: "When George and Maryam approached me to compose for their film they suggested I concentrate on four different themes: the gloriousness of the bees, the endurance and hardships of traditional beekeepers, pesticides and the holistic nature of non-industrial agriculture. I was especially intrigued with the idea of combining some of their mournful aspirations with something more serene. Composing began in May of 2009. I had decided to start fresh not using anything that I had already recorded. Preparing the music for the film, I knew that I needed to provide more built-in changes in the structure of the pieces to give George and Maryam more flexibility. As I worked, I purposely distanced myself from the more continuous architecture employed in my previous recordings in favor of several mini-suites. In the thinking about the music, I hoped that the pieces would do justice to the “gloriousness of the bees” theme, striving for a more overt hopeful quality. But old traditions die hard and the hopeful side of the music was eventually more subsumed by the lamentable.
I should also mention that if you have seen the film, this record will not contain all the music used and scored for this film.
I am incredibly honored to be a part of this project even if the final compositions turned out to be more appropriate for a different and more forlorn film. I know you have a lot to think about in this world but if you care about food or the world around us, you deserve to at least consider the arguments within this honest and real piece of film-making."
Brian McBride > Supposed Essay on the Piano [B major piano Adagietto] (from The Effective Disconnect, forthcoming on kranky)
Bonus: it's none too difficult to hear McBride's fine solo debut When the Detail lost its Freedom (samples here, here & here) or his decade-plus of drowsy, lulling Stars of the Lid brilliance (try this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this & this to be going on with...).
But you may not have come across his other work. To these ears, this mournful piano piece from a group that also contributes to WTDLIF is the best of it:
Finally, something from McBride's new avant-pop Bell Gardens - less to LMYE's taste, but completism & willfulness dictate including it anyway...
Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.