The Mistress

bark120: Yellow Ostrich / The Mistress

bark120 · CD / DIGITAL
Barsuk Records · August 2011

1.
I Think U Are Great
2.
Whale
3.
Hate Me Soon
4.
Hold On
5.
Libraries
6.
Hahahaohhoho
7.
I'll Run
8.
Campaign
9.
Mary
10.
Slow Paddle
11.
Bread
12.
Fog
13.
Mary (Alternate)

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VIDEOS

The focal point of Yellow Ostrich's magnificent debut The Mistress is Alex Schaaf's tender, pleading voice. It's reedy and childlike, and on The Mistress it gets looped and layered, stretched, manipulated; it's stacked up several high and, most often, it's used as an instrument, fleshing out the empty spaces in his bare, searching songs. These songs exist within that push-and-pull, the allure of blind fantasy chased by the bitter sting of reality. Nowhere is this more apparent than in mary, a song that begins with optimism and encouragement but crests on a sudden, startling note of despair: "Mary, you are doing drugs — don't you think we know?" Schaaf sings, crestfallen. The confrontation is followed by a crushing silence, before Schaaf's voice — all six harmonizing iterations of it — returns, a soothing cascade of sound. He sings only a single open syllable, but the meaning is clear: Schaaf's intention is not to judge — it's to comfort.


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