Saturday, September 04, 2010

Perfume Genius - Learning

Once in a while and from out of nowhere, comes a new unknown musician putting into sounds his most private thoughts and life experiences, like opening a book of secrets and sharing it to the world. For me the paradigm of this attitude is still the wonderfully beautiful experience released in 2004 that was Handwriting, by a then-17-year-old-boy who named himself Khonnor. But this debut album by Perfume Genius (a.k.a. Mike Hadreas) is special enough in itself, deserving to be added to this canon.
Learning has all the attributes associated with the most personal sort of music that can be put into record: delicate, fragile and with scarce ingredients. There's actually not much more in here than a trembling voice that seems more whispered than anything else, over gorgeous piano arpeggios and few other instruments, making these 10 tracks seem like little impressionist paintings.
With this minimal musical approach, Mike exorcises his demons, and while dealing with sex, death, loss and heartbreaks, he reveals his traumatic past experiences in a way that seems almost like self-therapy. And to be honest, his life has already had enough drama, as exemplified by a relationship experience with an older man described in Mr. Peterson: "he made me a tape of Joy Division/ he told me there was part of him missing/ when I was 16/ he jumped off a building”.
All of this could be too much to bear, if it wasn't for a simple fact that allows us enough space to breathe: Mike makes it sure to find some beauty around him. And that is a life lesson (8/10)

Perfume Genius - You Won't B Here (video)

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