Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
As I've been sitting here, listening to these four I_AM_AMPERSAND songs on repeat all morning, as they conclude, my iTunes player moves right on into the Iron & Wine session that I have kept in there. It would be a bit of nothingness, accept for Sam Beam singing the phrase "naked as a fish at night."
It's still a bit of nothingness, but the image gives off a feeling of somehow pertaining to the people that Matthew Hainsby, of Fujiya & Miyagi, sings about here with his new project. These people are surrounded by water. They're marooned and they're trying to determine how they're going to be able to survive, as deserted as they are, along with trying to figure out how they're going to fashion a sturdy enough vessel to get them out of there, back to where they're less helpless than they are currently. They're wriggling complementarily through these waters, muscling through the choppy parts and staying as silent as they can most of the time, keeping to themselves, delivering themselves to where they think they need to be. They've made themselves naked and they've stuck to the nights, not sure if they're safer in them or not. It's likely that they're not because they're always going to have themselves and their nettlesome worries to contend with. They're always going to feel as if they're mostly adrift, mostly at odds with the emptiness that seems to be there.
There are people missing and people who have never been here, just fictionalized. These are solitary walks and swims. Hainsby sings about having coral in his bones and you wonder if he's talking about the kind that's dried up, plucked from the ocean and brittle, or the kind that is still a living organism, waving around at the bottom of the sea - a complex equation of life and immobility. Hainsby sings, "And I was, and I was," a mumbling almost, but it's a sense that something's come and past, that the magic trick has gone up in smoke, dazzling only briefly. It could have been that flash that was good or bad. However it was, it was remembered and as he continues, later in the session, "You're too nice/You're too mean/Take that any way you please/It's the last thing on your mind/It's the last thing on your mind/But you're always on mine." These are the pretty and painful mistakes that make us strip down and strip back and swim around at night, like a loony.