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Impasse

RICHARD BUCKNER

Impasse

Merge Records

$24.00
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The words are entrancingly cryptic, as if their simplicity conceals unfathomable depths. The music is sparse, almost whispered at times, like a secret. The title gives everything away, though. During the gestation of his 2002 album Impasse, which will receive a new vinyl pressing from Merge Records on March 31, 2017, Richard Buckner was stuck. But, with perseverance, what began as one of his most troubled recording attempts ended as one of his best and most pivotal - a capstone for his wayfaring early period before he planted roots with Merge.

The album was conceived as a faceted whole. Its lyrics are like scattered snapshots and torn-up letters. The song titles form a poem that structures a story of heartache and dreamt redemption cloistered at the music’s core. Impressions, pledges, and slivered vantages swirl in Buckner’s voice and, while his frustrations at the time of Impasse were only part of the twist, its transmission is so open-ended that the aura of quiet desperation and hard- won grace is yours to use as you please.

“You don’t really know what you’re writing at the time,” Buckner says. “Writing seems to be kind of prophetic and it makes much more sense looking back on it. But I think mystery is good. If you ever think you know what you’re doing, then you’re probably in bad shape.”


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