Ryefield Society / James A. McDermid - S'accommoder / Perdido

Released: May 23

This split album brought to us by Rohs! Records feels like less of a split and more like two complementary album that explore two sides of the same conceptual coin. That coin being the beauty of famous European cities that remain attractive tourist destinations - Lisbon, Paris, London, etc. - and the unpleasant truth of the cost to their inhabitants that lies under the shiny surface  On the first side, we have the S'accommoder which takes the view of those who live in these cities. It is an exploration of the resident's search for peace, solace, and fulfillment in the midst of their needs being de-prioritized in favor of the promise of tourists bring their various currencies into the local economy. On the other side, Perdido explores that same concept from the point of view of the tourist. A view of the stranger experiencing these foreign cities in the hopes of seeing the culture, the history, and the sensations of that place only to be given an increasing manufactured experience that caters to their whims. 

Both albums in this dual compilation possess a certain sense of longing in them. S'accomder conveys this theme through the use of lonely acoustic guitars, minimalist field recordings, and wistful synths. It brings that sense of walking the streets of these cities or even looking out from one's window and seeing the city that one calls their home slowly transforming around them. The idea of feeling like a stranger in the place you have always known is something powerful, akin to losing a friend. While Ryefield Society is creating this for the cities they specifically know, this sensation is undoubtedly felt in cities everywhere as our world becomes smaller everyday. 

Perdido approaches the issue from a different perspective, not just thematically but also in sonic terms. Extensive and detailed field recordings litter this side with sparse accompaniments from pianos and the airiest pads you can envision. Everything feels like a dream here, to the point that it feels quite literally unreal. The cultivation and manufacturing on an experience rings hollow and the music here reflects that reality well. There is depth in the music, yes. But it somehow feels shallow at the same time, as if something is missing. It's one of those feelings that is difficult to put in words, but it is like knowing that something is amiss but you lack the actual experience or vocabulary to correctly identify what is missing. It is a perfect encapsulation of the foreigner's experience in a foreign city.    


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