I Am Singing To You From My Room

All-Music Guide | by Thom Jurek

The stark, humble nature of this recording

Given the stark, humble nature of this recording, as well as its limited availability (only from the Young God website), it would be easy or dismiss this set by Michael Gira as a vanity project. But that would be an error. I Am Singing To You From My Room, the vast majority of which was literally recorded there (there is also a live fragment from "All Souls Rising" by the Angels of Light) is simply Michael Gira songwriter and singer playing directly into a DAT recorder in his office. These 11 songs offer the listener an even more poignant and intimate portrait of Mr. Gira than his Angels Of Light project does. Here, one can hear what a fine melodist Gira is, something that is sometimes forgotten once a band is involved in turning his strange, deeply iconographic songs into the sonic tapestries where drone, mode, and lyric are all fused into something entirely Other. In the quietude of his office, Mr. Gira's grainy tomes, take on the weight and depth of folk poetry in the same --albeit modern--way Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb's original songs do. There is no artifice, no sense of affect, no sense of theater. The song is presented as a world unto itself; in its lines lie an entire universe of mystery, dimension, shadow, illogical truth, flesh, blood, life, death, lust, and even redemption. Perhaps no song embodies this notion as well as "Destroyer": "Here she comes, dressed in white/Her mouth is filled with flames/Her skin is black, her fingers trace/The diamonds in her veins/ Here she comes, down from the sun/to wash this country clean/Comes down for us, down from the dust/To murder what remains/Here she comes, now dressed in red/to heal this ruined race /And we'll walk freely, among the mountains and the trees/And we'll breathe deep again, where the air is pure and clean". In the elliptical, near mythical figurehead lies terrible power that is nonetheless seductive and irresistible for the deliverance her actions promise. "Michael's White Hands", filled with the symbolism of origin and plague walks hand in hand with the creation of a religion and its apocalypse all written in the vernacular code of one person speaking to another. Communicating symbols, images, narratives and revelations, no matter how large or small, in an intimate language that extends itself beyond the boundaries of the individual, is what these songs accomplish in spades. Ultimately, it's not that these songs reveal some new truth about Gira's considerable --even intimidating abilities; it's more that they reveal what we have already encountered in a new manner, one that has no need of musical dynamics because it is full of spectral and lyrical ones.