The past few weeks in NYC have been blessed by the slow, true onset of Spring. No flashes of false spring here folks. It’s been pretty steady, with clear days and generally warmer temperatures. This makes the days of gray and rain that much more exciting. It’s no fun when it’s everyday, but sometimes you just need a somber day to set the mood.
That was the mood outside when I was first sent the upcoming Ben Seretan album, coming April 30 via NNA Tapes. I had been told about Seretan’s work for a few years now, starting with his 30-minute ambient pieces My Life’s Work back in 2017 or 2018. It was a lot for me to digest, so I kept the name on the back burner. Then I was sent this album, Cicada Waves, and decided that it was time. I was correct on the timing. I ended up listening to the album four times in a row. Just blissful piano meditations with ambient field recordings of nature’s din nestled underneath. “8pm Crickets” of course has plenty of cricket chirping laying the groundwork for Seretan’s piano work, really making it sound like he’s playing this echoing piano in the woods, but you can also hear the shape of the room he’s in. Seretan also includes audio of himself walking on wood floors to sit at the piano, almost making it clear that he’s not playing in the woods, but transporting the both of us to nature, if that makes sense. Kind of related – if you haven’t had a chance to live in a space where the frogs or bugs outside could sing you to sleep, I suggest you try, as hilarious as that sounds. Although I once lived in a house where crickets kept getting into my room – not even the spiders under my bed could stop them. Thanks to other bug residents, that place is referred to as “bug house”.
Back to the music at hand – I had been meaning to post the previous single from the record, “Fog Rolls Out Rabun Gap”, but kept getting distracted. This past weekend though my partner and I rented a car and drove up to the Catskills and this was one of the albums I put on for the drive up. It again was rainy, but slowly riding higher into the mountains with this grounded, earthy work, with fog literally rolling down high hilltops on our right hand side, we achieved some magic.
2021 has really granted us some potent healing music, with Cicada Waves soon being another essential entry into that canon. You don’t even have to listen while it’s gray and rainy. I’m listening right now and it’s late at night and the sky is clear. The lights from apartment units across the street and beyond twinkle, with subtle smudges of activity providing a pulse for the humming urban sprawl outside my window. It’s peaceful. Let yourself have this.
Cicada Waves is out 4/30 via NNA Tapes. Pre-order the album HERE.