Andy Othling of Lowercase Noises was recently blessed with his third child. As with Marshall in 2010 and, later, Vivian in 2011, Andy has composed a piece of music to coincide with the birth of his newborn child, Blake.
I was going to review this. I reviewed Lowercase Noises‘ ‘Passage’ EP in November of last year. ‘Blake’ is different, though, and I don’t think that this an album that I have any right to critique — nor one that I particularly wish to. While listening to ‘Blake’ for the first time, I had in my head bullet-point impressions that I would intend to include in a proper review of the album. It wasn’t until the song “Taken” — in which a home recording can be heard of Andy’s wife discussing with (I believe) Marshall their excitement for the arrival of their newest gift — that it dawned on me: ‘Blake’ wasn’t written to be broken down, judged and objectified. It wasn’t written for us. It’s something much more personal than that.
But any new Lowercase Noises release is still worth talking about.
Like ‘Marshall’ and ‘Vivian’ before it, ‘Blake’ is an album with more ambient inclinations than might be found in some of Lowercase Noises‘ other works (including last year’s ‘Passage’). This is music written for a baby, and so soft and calming sounds are perfectly suited. Here, Andy isn’t necessarily aspiring to push his artistic explorations into new territories like he did with ‘Passage’ (which is why I don’t think this should be critiqued in a traditional sense); he simply wishes to make music from the heart that can truly mean something to his children as they grow. We’re just lucky enough to be welcomed into his personal life such that we can witness the birth of a family heirloom.
Listening to ‘Blake’ got me thinking about the sentimentality of music. How music can be something so personal to one individual; be such a catalyst for memories and nostalgia. The sounds we hear as we enter the world and grow up in it are instilled within us; as influences to mould our future selves, and as checkpoints to take us back to times once cherished but perhaps oft-forgotten. In a recent video posted to YouTube, Andy told us that what inspires him as an artist is the desire to release his creative energy, and hopefully to bestow it upon others. It’s his way of expressing himself. And that’s what makes the art of music so special for this particular musician. The albums that Andy writes for his children are not just a chapter in his musical career, but a way for him to express his love and excitement for his children. To instil their earliest memories with imprints of their father’s passion.
And that’s why Andy’s music is wholly something special.
To download ‘Blake’ on a name-your-price basis, click here.