Library of Babel - s/t

Shane Parish - guitar
Emmalee Hunnicutt - cello
Frank Meadows - bass

Recorded by Patrick Kukucka
Mixed and mastered by David Allen

Available on limited edition cassette from Blue Tapes/X-Ray Records UK.


"Unconscious gasps of breath. Finger skin sliding on metal strings. An acoustic guitar is flanked by cello and double bass in a relationship that at times feels almost parental - the two bigger instruments keeping a watchful eye over the junior one as it gambols ahead, constantly investigating and testing.

This is a very special release. If what this label has relished in before is pairing occult, abstract instances of sound to partly-erased images and letting the spectator simply make of it what it wishes, a new strategy for Blue Tapes might be to try and apply that lovingly rendered abstraction to music - things people might actually want to hear. Records, some people call ‘em.

So, without compromising our position, it would be an exciting experiment to attempt to curate releases that anyone could hear and get something from. Even if - especially if - the hypothetical listener weren’t quite sure what it was they were getting out of this.

I think the nineteenth release in the tape series, by The Library of Babel, achieves this. This music is delicate, intricate - an intimate conversation in real-time between three gorgeous-sounding instruments. So intimate, in fact, that as a listener you imagine yourself between the instruments, the sounds slipping and buzzing around you, the warm breath of the players on your neck; sometimes even more intimately you feel yourself between the the strings, the notes, sliding as they ring and you vibrate.

The music has an instinctive narrative although the playing is improvised. Fans of blue twelve: Tashi Dorji, in particular, will appreciate this - especially as guitarist Shane Parish and bassist Frank Meadows are friends and regular collaborators of Tashi in their hometown of Asheville, NC. The sounds the pair make with cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt potentially have wide appeal, though, caressing the dopamine centres of brains wired for jazz and free folk alike.

Gratifyingly, though, there is an absence of any real genre to call a home for this music. It is animalistic in its intuition and motives. Seemingly oblivious to its own wisdom and only concerned with the moment.

I love this music very much. I hope something in it captures you too. "

Praise for blue nineteen:

"Blue Tapes rarely disappoints, but even by their standards this is an intensely special recording." - The Quietus

"The singularly eclectic Blue Tapes label is known for its promotion of experimental musicians such as Stillsuit, Trupa Trupa and Tashi Dorji and for its challenging and often dissonant improvised and electronic music that isn’t performed or recorded for significantly large audiences. The Library Of Babel’s album is a little different though. Retaining the improvisational approach and also bringing a defined structure to the compositions, either accidentally or deliberately, The Library Of Babel have recorded an album of some very cool, minimalistic yet highly atmospheric chill-zone sounds, an album that consistently reveals new layers of ability from its performers, both as a group and individually." - DOA

"If you’ve listened to any of the release from this particular label before you’ll know to expect experimentation at its most beautiful and Library of Babel is no exception." - SCRZ Magazine

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Library of Babel

Library of Babel - s/t

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​ As Library of Babel, the guitarist and music teacher Shane Parish, cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt and bassis Frank Meadows found together to create some sort of free folk/improv chamber music.

All three are hailing from Asheville, NC the town and area that is also home for improv acoustic guitarist Tashi Dorji, american primitive guitarist Sarah Louise or singer-songrwriter Wes Tirey. You might have seen their names names before or in combination with each other. If not, look them up!

Library of Babel is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges where he describes the world as a infinite library containing meaningless books in a random order.

Though the vast majority of the books in this universe are pure gibberish, the library also must contain, somewhere, every coherent book ever written, or that might ever be written, and every possible permutation or slightly erroneous version of every one of those books.

As mind-bending this story is, as mind-bending is the music of this acoustic trio. There are chaotic moments that translate to the gibberish and there are beautiful moments where everything seem to makes sense (Cracked Mud, Deer Park).

If you are familiar with Parish's or Dorji's freeform guitar explorations, you definitely need to hear this. 

This was released on Blue Tapes in January.

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