Claire Rousay – everything perfect is already here
Claire Rousay is one of the most intriguing artists in electronic music today. The San Antonio native’s music is more like sonic still lifes, collages of the mise-en-scene of everyday life, sequenced into strange, endless passages of ambience and noise. She’s also entirely unafraid to experiment. In the past year alone, she’s tried on Space Afrika style drone & monologue, Von Oswald neo-classic, and with frequent collaborator More Eaze, emo pop-punk and hyperpop. Her versatility and relentless output has quickly made Rousay a recognisable name, and her work in field-recorded ambience feels distinct by virtue of how current she feels. Whereas her peers working in the genre often keep things wrapped in an aura of loftiness, Rousay feels more accessible, a sort of millennial everywoman whose work is anything but stuffy.
Her latest, everything perfect is already here, takes shape as two fifteen minute long experimental compositions. Like most of her solo work before this, each composition is cinematic in scope and pieced together from disparate threads of sound and idea that Rousay stitches together in ways only she’s capable of. it feels foolish to care opens with rubbery synth squabbles, and uncertainty. “Um.. um.. I think.. Um,” she stutters, as strings swell and piano keys begin to chime, precocious and brimming with sentiment. Passages of random ambience follow, the plucked strings of a harp, cars in the distance. A soundtrack to a film visible only in Rousay’s head, a film we are given access to only through sound. It ends with washes of drones and sliding strings, engulfing the little universe that Rousay curates over the course of the track’s various phases and moments.
If it feels foolish to care is careful and quiet with its emotion, the title track is robust and outward. Alex Cunningham and Mari Maurice’s strings are really given a moment here, wailing a dirge-like aria for the first quarter of the track before Rousay plunges us into near silence. We open again on a road… perhaps. Rousay’s collage makes it difficult to distinguish location, a signature sleight of hand that makes her ambience feel entirely enigmatic. The road becomes a coffee shop or restaurant, an unknown man speaks hushedly about his significant other. Rousay approaches these moments with a voyeuristic sense of intrigue, pulling back the curtain on her subjects just enough that we might understand their most basic desires. It is both intimate, and removed. Keeping them shrouded in mystery, Rousay makes everymen of her subjects; we identify with them on the most basic level, seeing whatever it is within us reflected in them.
Rousay approaches her compositions like a director, but she never gives us any direct answers. There may be some sort of narrative through line, or none at all. What makes Rousay’s pieces so beguiling is how easily you can get swept up in the drama. This is art to lose yourself in, little dioramas of some place and some time outside of your own, outside the present. Whatever movie Rousay has written, she allows us the space to make the pictures for ourselves. If you allow it time to unfold, everything perfect is already here is a gorgeously cinematic and rewarding experience.
Listen to the title track from everything perfect is already here below.
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