Yara Asmar’s collection of home recordings is another gem from Hive Mind. Across seven tracks, the Lebanese artist shows a melancholic vulnerability. This music is like an aural diary, combining melodic, wistful motifs and an array of field recordings to create fading pictures of intimate, powerful moments.
Asmar is a multi-instrumentalist living in Beirut, and her ear for enticing sound combinations is unique. Metallic timbres dance like personified music boxes in a room of solemn feedback swells and ramshackle, jangly percussion on the beguiling opener, “it’s always october on sunday.” Shades of gray cloud the earth tones moving in angled, choreographed patterns. In the resonant darkness flowing just out of reach, Asmar stretches outward as if reaching for something unseen and unheard.
Tape-saturated piano arrangements wobble and decay on “we put her in a box and never spoke of it again.” There’s a feeling of remorse woven into the fuzzy chords, warm with twilight sun missives. It’s quiet here, however, before giving away to the stoic chord progressions and hazy determination of the song’s back half. Asmar’s soft touch haunts each transportive note, the ghosts that will never leave us.
Each piece on Home Recordings 2018 – 2021 has a secret story, and without any direct narratives, we’re left picking out clues in the emotive soundscapes. On “there is a science to days like these (but i am a slow learner),” breaths of relief are golden paeans hanging in the still light. “sleeping in church – tape 1 – on a warm day i turned to tell you something but there was nothing there” fuses lilting ambient synth and piano passages with church field recordings, burning through a ritualistic thread.
Tiny worlds expand and contract in the palm of Yara Asmar’s hand. These recordings are remarkable in their ability to command attention in the gentlest terms. There are stories to find on this album and new worlds to discover.