Best of Year 2019
Briefly mentioned Songs Hurt Me when we were shouting about the John Lafia compilation last week, but it's deserving of its own post. As with Lafia, Marnie Weber (often known as just Marnie) was part of the 80s LA downtown scene, having first played with new-wavers Party Boys. Songs Hurt Me was her debut solo record, originally issued in 1988 on cassette, and then on LP as a limited pressing of just 87 copies (good luck finding that). Music wasn't her only discipline, preferring instead sculpture, film and performance art, which perhaps explains why it's taken until now for such a compelling record to re-surface (not forgetting Ecstatic Peace's efforts to bring her work to more attention in the 90s, of course).
So, what does it sound like? There's a freespirited impulse for experimentation, in terms of both texture and form, that make sense next to Lafia, but where his work feels mechanistic Marnie is more ethereal, dreamlike even in such a way that calls to mind some of Julee Cruise's The Voice of Love. The near-Fourth World feel of 'The Courtesan' and the title track (particularly the instrumental version) will particularly appeal to those digging into Japanese ambient but longing for something less clinical, more emotionally rich. Smokey, sonorous midnight music for the back streets of weirdo Hollywood, like an alternative score to Mulholland Drive.