Song Review

Jane Heidorn – “Hard Times Come Again No More” (Ashes Ashes)

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In today’s warp-speed music internet where you can see an artist release 3+ new full lengths within the span of a year, Clint Heidorn is a patient glacier. He put out a stellar debut full length, Atwater, in 2011. The next year he released a tape with one 8 minute song. 4 years later (this year) he put out a collaboration with Loren Connors, but it’s a single-sided LP with a song that’s just under 15 minutes. All of it’s outstanding, but clearly this dude is meticulous and highly selective (or maybe he’s just super fuckin busy being the production supervisor for DreamWorks). Now he’s got another impeccable release, although he’s mostly involved behind the scenes.

Clint’s grandmother, Jane Heidorn, died a few years ago. There’s a beautiful story about the making of this record that you should absolutely read, I won’t bother summarizing because it’s short enough to begin with and I don’t want to butcher Clint’s words. Clint recorded Jane singing Stephen Foster’s 1854 “Hard Times Come Again No More” while she was in a nursing home and Clint put together the music for it. It’s a deeply personal recording whose origin is important, but the song stands on its own as a somber elegy full of emotion and it’s every bit as beautiful as it deserves to be.

Clint memorialized Jane by releasing this song as a single-sided 10″ packaged in a plain unadorned sleeve, like an old 78. It’s perfect in every way. Only 250 copies that I’m sure won’t last long.

Album Review

Clint Heidorn – Atwater (Ashes Ashes, 2011)


Clint Heidorn2 (Ashes Ashes)

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A new dude self releasing his first album on vinyl with killer packaging, you should already be paying attention. Heidorn is making some stellar tunes on Atwater, channelling a sparser Dirty Three or a dustier & less gloomy Jakob Battick. Truly awesome stuff here. I see it getting labeled a lot as black folk and even black ambient, and I guess, for lack of a better word, I might as well. But this isn’t black. It’s hardly even dark. Somber? Certainly. But this doesn’t conjure any woodland specters or rain the plague down on your soul. It’s an earthy minimalism, guitars, strings, reeds, and a slew of noisemakers echoing in the trees, sprawling out over the leaves on the forest floor. Chill as fuck and absolutely amazing. But I just can’t see the whole haunted spin on this. And as rad as it is using “tree bones” to adorn your hand tinted record jackets, I’m not a big fan of the upside cross imagery. Especially here, where it seems to be pleading its case instead of representing the sound. But clearly Heidorn created Atwater with dark intentions, so I’m not hating. I’m just not on board with the theme. I see Atwater in my own way, and it’s super fucking cool.