From The Ashes: The Low Anthem – “Cy Twombly By Campfire”

Photo Cred: James Joiner

The Low Anthem

Cy Twombly By Campfire

The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea

From Providence, RI, come the strangest band since Neutral Milk Hotel.  This is a great band, using many different sounds and beautiful melodies intertwined to bring interesting stories together.  Any band that does a song about Cy Twombly is a winner in my book.  Comprised of Jeff Prystowsky, Ben Knox Miller, Florence Wallis, and Bryan Minto, The Low Anthem combines literature, story-telling, and music in a very personal way.  Just recently, Prystowsky was involved in a car wreck that destroyed the bands’ equipment and nearly destroyed him.  During his recovery, Knox Miller became obsessed with:

John Cage’s biography Where The Heart Beats, by Kay Larsen. He soon became transfixed by the salt doll fable he came across. The salt doll fable basically tells the story of a doll that wants to know itself, and what it’s made of. A teacher tells it, “salt comes from the ocean,” so it goes to the sea.  When the doll puts its toe in, it knows something, but loses its toe. Then it puts its foot in, knows even more but loses its foot…and so on, until it’s completely dissolved, never to return to the shore.

This fable soon blossomed into a full album that Knox Miller wrote on stripped down equipment (given that all the band’s usual stuff had been destroyed or damaged in the crash) and the end result was an album that, according to Prystowsky: “Is a concept album with a story arc weaving through the songs like a constellation. It’s an underwater circular journey to the bottom of the sea following the salt doll who, attempting to measure the sea (and thus, know its true origins), in the end, becomes part of it. Along the way this non-human, conscious chemical compound, encounters all kinds of fantastical oceanic things.”

All together, this is a beautiful album, deep, personal, stripped down, weird, wonderful.  They are touring right now, and they are playing the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, which is so fitting.  Listen to their music; you’ll see why.

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