Posts Tagged ‘Christina Files’

Mountains

To date Matador’s Revisionist History series has set its focus on the hallowed year of 1995 – surfacing critical releases by Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Guided by Voices, and Chavez.

Today, however, we whirl the dial on the in-house wayback machine and travel toward the future: the year 2000 and Mary Timony’s debut solo album, ‘Mountains‘, which will be reissued on January 15th. Remastered by Bob Weston, “Mountains” comes back to us as a gold foil-embossed gatefold double LP and will include the previously unreleased original takes of “Return to Pirates,” “Poison Moon,” and “Killed by the Telephone,” which were delivered along with the original master tapes 20 years ago, but were omitted from the final album. The record is completed by a newly recorded orchestral version of “Valley of One Thousand Perfumes” produced by composer Joe Wong (Russian Doll, Midnight Gospel) and mixed by Dave Fridmann.  

At the turn of the century, Timony (Ex Hex, Wild Flag, Hammered Hulls) was already a celebrated presence in American underground music ­­– a fixture of D.C. and Boston rock ’n’ roll via her work in Autoclave and Helium respectively. By 1998, though, Helium was drawing to a close and Timony was feeling uncertain about the future. “I had never been good at the rock’ n’ roll business, and making a living from being in a band just didn’t seem like it was in the realm of possibility for me,” she writes. “I just knew I wanted to make another record because that was the part of being in a band that I liked the most.” 

At the time of its original release, Timony called ‘Mountains’, “A Trip to the New Underworld.” “A bunch of hard stuff was happening in my life: family illnesses, people dying, people leaving, relationships ending. I fell into a deep depression,” she explains. “I tried new ways of making music: I tried writing songs without any filter at all, and I purposely didn’t think about what the music would sound like to anyone else. I was only interested in describing what was in my head.”

Recorded and mixed in Boston alongside Christina Files and Eric Masunaga and in Chicago with Bob Weston, Mountains found Timony dialing into territory that was barer and more confessional than her work in Helium. Stark arrangements were augmented with newly ornate instrumentation — piano, vibraphone, and viola — and the lyrics were tinted with slyly occult imagery.

“Listening back to Mountains now I am struck most by how raw it sounds,” says Timony. “I hear the depression and angst, but also I hear all of that darkness disappearing through the power of music and friendship—and turning into songs during those happy and productive months recording and hanging out in Christina’s loft in downtown Boston.”

Mountains” will be reissued on January 15th.

Mountains