Maura Magazine | April Listening

April Listening

An occasional feature spotlighting records that have captivated the attention of our contributors.

It’s hard to have complete thoughts these days. Sometimes a record can leave half an idea behind, stirring like an insect, trying to weave into a larger fabric. Most records have at least that; intertexuality is everywhere, music is often an indication of culture, and any meditation on culture is going to lead you into some kind of life despair. Boom, thinkpieces flower the hillside. But most of the time that kind of work and thought are absent from one’s basic interactions with the art; sometimes the only things that remain are the impressions we inelegantly tease out of ourselves, with no narrative, little direction—brief fragments of our experience.

Which is what diaries were for, before diaries became blogs and before blogs became overflowing GIF reservoirs. So here’s a listening diary for the month of April.

Herb Alpert, Rise

This is one of my favorite records; to return to it is to return to a specific environment, an individual set of hues. It opens with “1980,” which seems to prefigure that year as an imperial dream; it was commissioned for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Summer Olympics in Moscow. Almost as a result of the first track’s curious inathleticism, everything else here is a groove, liquid and clarified, electric piano in feathery touchdowns. It feels exotic, even directly leafy, but also clean as a hotel room, smoothed into a kind of weightless soul. [...]