Pete Seeger, once said:
“any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”
I read this quote recently on Scrawls and Bawls and it really stuck in my head. I think it’s so true. To make something so simple and yet so beautiful is a skill that many try but not many truly achieve.
FIRES Were Shot are a duo from Austin, Texas. They create sublime soundscapes using little more than a couple of guitars and their effects pedals. In many ways, it is ambient music in its simplest form. However, to take something so simple yet make it so dense and moving is something not many artists can achieve. And it’s weird because more than any other record that I’ve listened to this year I am sucked in deeper and deeper by this record.
There really is a hypnotic quality to the music that makes me feel like I’m sitting or walking in a dream like state as the music pours through me. As ‘Cradles’ kicks in, I certainly don’t feel like I’m in an Edinburgh office, surrounded by work colleagues. I don’t notice the phone ring. I don’t notice a colleague ask me about my Christmas. I don’t even notice the time disappear. How did we get to 2pm? ‘We All Become Regretful’ has a similar impact. I could be floating above the room for all I know, looking in on myself. The fever I’ve had for the past couple of days playing tricks on me, rather than the music forcing these thoughts from my brain? I don’t think so.
But this is what makes FIRES Were Shot so brilliant. It does sound simple. It really does. However, it’s how they interweave the noise, tones and moments in each track that takes the listener to these other worlds. Worlds that normally only exist in dreams. I like how FIRES Were Shot sound like my dreams. I really do. ‘Go On And Carried Out’, with it’s lovely acoustic tones carry me to a land where nothing seems to matter. Children’s voices in the background reminding me of a time long ago. Of clouds made from marshmallow and rivers of salad cream. Ok, I’ll come back to reality now.
The fact is that this album really does create some magical worlds in my head. It’s stunning to think it’s simply 2 guitarists. The whole thing is built around some very simple melodies and modest chord progressions. And therein lies the genius of this record. To have such an emotive impact using so little. By simply distorting the truth. Not many records turn my brain into a world of madness whilst simultaneously relaxing my body. This album and this band and I are going to become very good friends. I can tell.
You can check out FIRES Were Shot here. If you, like I, enjoy dreaming then make sure you do. Enjoy.