Title: see the thing is
Artist: Daniel Robert Lahey
Release Date: 2014 Sept 28
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Self Released
I first encountered Daniel’s work on At Water’s Edge, and it was a breath of fresh air. It may sound a little clichéd, but he is a unique person. From living in a bus to inventing his own cataloging system for his pieces (the “thing” numbers assigned to each work), and developing his own website, he is a person that is in tune with the world around him. His art is a reflection of the equilibrium he has achieved with the world.
see the thing is
In one respect it’s difficult to say a lot about his works. The simple fact is, they just are. The artist often states that these works are just things that are resonating around him, and he is just able to tune into to and record them for our listening pleasure. Daniel often says things like: “i couldn’t really tell you where or from whom this music comes…” and “…it also goes to all of those who have listened to me live or to my recordings over the years. without their resonance, i would not feel the compulsion to extract the best music i can find waiting for me in the aether.” Even the name of his website refers to the metallurgic practice of trying to transform one metal into another (the most famous example is trying to turn lead into gold).
Wether Daniel is really an alchemist, an extremely talented musician, or both simultaneously is something that can be debated for years to come (and, I hope that it is debated). He is allowed to maintain the façade of a magician by the simple fact that his works have a magical element to them. The lush tonality with a core of balance and peacefulness is an offering that one doesn’t want to analyze too heavily, it’s better to just listen and experience these works. Let them work their magic on you.
Aside: I wasn’t feeling all that good earlier this evening. I wasn’t sick, but a long day at work had taken its toll on me. I honestly didn’t have the energy to sit down and write another review or article for The CerebralRift. In fact, I didn’t even have the energy to handle my normal evening correspondence. Instead I decided to set all normal activities aside and listen to this work.
Well, this recording worked its magic and I knew that I needed to write about it this evening. It had put me into a place of rest and balance, allowed me to restore my energy levels and re-focus on the things around me. This was a rather different experience for me. Normally I find myself engaged with the music I write about on a more academic or intellectual level. I write about technical details of composition, structure, recording etc. But with this music, it has reached a level where physical interaction with it is what is more important about the work, rather than analysis.
I will state one small point does detract mildly from the work. on “gradus ad lib (thing_007)”, there is some distortion in the lead line. It’s not all that bad, but it does seem to work against the rest of the piece to a degree. But, when faced with a body of works that is otherwise quite exceptional, that seems quite small.
Daniel Robert Lahey seems to be something of a renaissance man. He maintains a simple life in which he surrounds himself with things that matter to him. Not the trappings of possessions that most people are obsessed with, but rather nature and his ability to transform the “things” into pieces for other to appreciate. And there is a lot to appreciate in his work, the lush tonality, the well measured balance between tension and release, the simple sound of these works. While a series of complex analysis of each of these works could be done in an academic manner, the fact is these works don’t need it. They need to be experienced, they need to be allowed to work their magic on you. So, see the thing is, these are works that you should experience. You are likely to learn more about yourself in them, than you will from any analysis of them.