SMM: Context is the first release in Ghostly International’s new yearly compilation series of evocative, exploratory music. In 2003, Ghostly International introduced SMM, an unknown acronym used to evaporate the already-unspooling musical boundaries between classical minimalism, electronic and drone composition, film soundtracks, and fragile imaginary landscapes. SMM: Context features a hand-picked selection of some of the world’s finest musicians from Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, North America and the UK who traffic in SMM’s slow-moving, texture-focused compositions, simple in instrumentation, but infinitely complex in execution.
Svarte Greiner’s “Halves” creates a David Lynch-ian dreamscape out of slowly undulating drones and distant creaks and scratches. Wire magazine favorite Leyland Kirby contributes “Polaroid”, a wide-open vista of barely plucked nylon strings and deep synthesizer swells. Guitar-and-turntables duo The Fun Years patiently fold loops and spy-guitar noodles into “Cornelia Amygdaloid”, a patient, minimalist take on psychedelia. Rafael Anton Irisarri (aka The Sight Below, the compilation’s lone Ghostly artist) tips his hat to “furniture music” pioneer Erik Satie in “Moments Descend on My Windowpane”, a soulful piano-and-noise meditation. Context closes with Peter Broderick’s “Pause”, a time-stopping slice of acoustic-guitar melancholia.
The songs on SMM: Context can’t be categorized. They do their work in a multitude of ways, seeming to change depending on when and how they’re listened to, providing a backdrop for life’s small movies, or—if you’re not into the whole “ambient as life soundtrack” thing—acting as their own context, existing simply as elegant, heartbreakingly beautiful music.
NOTE: The 2xLP version is a limited edition of 800 units and comes in a 4-panel gatefold “tip-on” jacket (thick and heavy), 180 gram vinyl, and includes inner art sleeves. The artwork above includes the front and back covers, inner-panel jacket art and inner sleeve art.