As we sit within our homes, attempting to maintain a sense of clarity and routine between each weekday – it’s become important to try and find some sense of vitality and unfamiliar comfort in the solitary restrictions this situation impedes on us. It’s unquestionable that having to abide by such isolation has a physical and mental impact, so we must adapt – motivate our minds to find a sense of reprieve in such mundanity.
Lewsberg are currently offering that respite – their new record ‘In This House’ captures the very minute details of day to day living and injects with them a subtle and refreshing sense of perspective – thematically and musically. The album intelligently subverts the notion that regularity feeds existentialism by looking in on their own sound and subjecting it to course dissonance and scattered minimalism in equal measure. In doing so, they provide a record that doesn’t consciously sit in one place, and intentionally combats popular music tradition with atonal, off-key experimentation.
By the time Standard Procedures stutters and chokes into a discordant close, we learn to find a sense of comfort in the regimentation – with the odd lunch-time pint throw in to lighten the mood.
Today, Lewsberg provide us with their Isolation Selection – a vibrant collection of songs that embrace the understated and the under–appreciated in equal measure, whether new or worn. From Horse Lord’s utterly mind-destroying intonations and the whirling, lo-fi pop of Cindy Lee to Sunny Murray’s evocative, eccentric avant-Jazz, there’s an unquestionable mine to explore here.
These really are unprecedented times, how are you, how are you all feeling in all this?
Michiel: Are these unprecedented times? Yes and no, I guess. Western society seems so used to and obsessed with gaining and staying in control of everything in the world, that this virus might come as a shock to some. For people in Europe it might feel different from tsunamis, heavy earthquakes, ebola, or some other force of nature that happens on the other side of the world, but it’s not really.
Arie: I feel for the people in poor countries at the moment. But for the wealthy world we live in, I think this whole situation arrived just a couple of years too late. Anyway, I’ve been ready for it for ages. I feel at ease.
Can you quite comprehend the impact this is having on the music industry? I know at this stage it’s perhaps not the most important of things to consider, but do you think when all this is said and done, the foundations and the nature in which the industry runs will change?
Michiel: With all live dates and some release dates being postponed I hope artists, venues and other people involved can keep their heads above water in this period of lockdowns. Hopefully things will get starting again in a few months. But how much of an impact this will have is too soon to tell. We will see how this situation will develop in the long term.
Arie: I have the naïve hope that a major thing like this will separate the wheat from the chaff. That only the important things will survive, and that redundant stuff will disappear. That we get the chance to build everything from scratch, and make things better this time. But to be honest, I know that this will never happen. Money will prevail in the end, so the rebuilding will be top-down.
Talk us through your playlist, what does it represent to you?
Michiel: The music that’s getting me through so-called “isolation” is the newly released music I like. Despite these weird and troubling times life goes on, at least for most of us. So I keep my eyes and ears open for new music, like I always do, because that’s what inspires me. The songs I contributed to this playlist are from some of my favourite albums of the last few months.
Arie: I’m not as adventurous as Michiel when it comes to listening to music and discovering new music, but I’ve taken the opportunity of this semi-isolation to buy a lot of records at Hans Tweedehands (“Hans Second-hand”) and listen to them on my crappy stereo. Alternated with the new music Michiel keeps sending me.
Lewsberg’s album ‘In This House’ is out now. The group have rescheduled their UK tour to this September – see the full dates below and check out their Isolation Selection:
12/09 The Wave Maiden, Portsmouth
13/09 Crofters Rights, Bristol
15/09 The Hug & Pint, Glasgow
16/09 Bobik’s, Newcastle
17/09 Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
18/09 The Smokehouse, Ipswich
20/09 The Latest Music Bar, Brighton
21/09 Moth Club, London