Todd Lerew – Lithic Fragments

“Oh, I can do that,” says [whoever]. Yeah, but can you get it produced? Can you get someone to fund it on their label as a limited edition cassette? I mean, if you can, I’ll drive to my smoking spot, already stoned off Oxycontin, huffing duster while I listen to your balls-up new tape. My point is that nothing can reach the same level of Mind-Alteration-2012 (this is a thing, maybe) as Lithic Fragments can. The depth of this cassette can, at first glance, be measured by its packaging. Think of the heartache Lerew and/or Peter Berends (KWJAZ, Brunch Groupe) took to wrap the cassette in foil, let alone package it in foiled bubble wrap. And this is not a novelty. It comes down to the longevity and care taking this release beholds. If I’m intending to have this cassette for a dog’s age, it’d better be packaged correctly. So, maybe it’s less a novelty and more pompous, with longevity in mind. And it’s completely earned.

Furthermore, subtle maximialism is Lerew’s thesis in this piece. I’m just spittin’ it how I hear it, and this shit is laaaaaaaaayered. Layered beyond the piece itself. Right there, in your ears, or on your couch. The piece itself embodies your atmosphere. As my batteries began to die, the piece remained consistent in progress, but began to fade in sound depth on Side-A. When I was listening to Side-B in my living room, I heard the reeling whirl and crackles from the piece being played, as if there were some sort of buried, backing beat to the piece. That was the first time I listened to Lithic Fragments all the way through. I actually thought the piece began to fade on Side-A and had a beat on Side-B the second time I listened to it. As other musicians continue to incorporate recording methods in their music making, Lerew has found a point where the listener and their cassette player become part of the combined musical journey. If you stop paying attention to the piece and keep driving, it’s still there wobbling in and out of your senses. When you focus in on it to the max, maybe you can hear someone whistling. Thus, Lithic Fragments is something personal that both the artist can share and the listener can create. Not as a soundtrack. Not as an experience. But in sound and mind.

-Clifford Morrissey


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