You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me is Thrill Jockey’s latest record to be released onto the world and it’s definitely a veritable feast for the ears. Under the pseudonym of Wrekmeister Harmonies, this music is the creation of JR Robinson and his collaboration with notable guests such as Bruce Lamont, Jef Whitehead, and Sanford Parker to name a few, all exploring different aural vistas in the shape of one 38 minute movement.
Originally this collective gathered in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago to perform this meandering and avant-garde piece to a sold out crowd. Soon they congregated once again, this time in the studio belonging to none other than a certain Mr. Steve Albini, and recorded what would become You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me. Needless to say, the story is an interesting one and the music itself is even more intriguing.
Initially opening with whirring ambient noise and an altogether spectral vibe, ‘You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me’ gently meanders through calm hills of atmospherics for the first 15 minutes or so when serenely plucked guitars pervade and this movement begins to unfurl.
Lonesome strings join the guitars and the bed of noise begins augmenting, making its presence felt even stronger. What we have here is somewhat reminiscent of Godspeed at their most stripped back only for a flurry of titanic riffs to come crashing in. Sludgy, doom-laden guitars now take centrestage, where they are complemented by the string arrangement and ghostly, haunted vocals roaring in the distance.
How this track morphs into something else entirely is an experience. The final 10 minutes of this voyage see the towers of riffs wither away and the initial spectral acoustic guitars return once again truly bringing ‘You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me’ full circle as ambient buzz and hum play us out till the end.
This album is nothing short of sublime and beautiful, while serene and oddly aggressive at the same time. It speaks to the diversity of musicians within it and the tutelage of JR Robinson.
You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me will be released by Thrill Jockey