Claire Rousay – a softer focus

An art exhibition through our ears? Meet Claire Rousay and her new album, a softer focus.

Many of us like to go for a walk, go to exhibitions, museums. To have new experiences that awaken our souls, our hearts. To open horizons, even if it is with a hello from our new neighbor.

Since WtMM is based in Lisbon, we have countless stories to tell about Portugal. It is an incredible country, with immense culture, with each space, person, or street defining itself by an immense authenticity that only God knows why he created something so unique.

We have museums, many museums. And each one welcomes us in its own way: be it abstract, with more historical pieces or, even, made at that moment in time, with something as real as what we see on the news.

There is, in particular, a museum in Lisbon that I love. Every month I try to go there – and I always learn something new. It’s called MAAT, Lisbon Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology. It is located in Belém, right in front of the Tagus River. It has an incredible panoramic view – which makes the most beautiful monuments on the planet Earth blush with envy. There we have a space for debate, discovery, critical thinking on a global scale. Every month it is renovated. Yes, the inner space changes in a chameleonic way. And if one day we are under the sea with endless amounts of garbage above us, the next we already have a physical barrier that simulates the land border between Mexico and the USA.

MAAT Museum

And it is not only the visual part that makes these exhibitions. The sound is the most important thing there is to make us feel even more integrated into it. Understanding what is happening, being in a simulation of the real place.

With these sounds in our minds, we break down barriers and focus on the United States of America. Meet Claire Rousay and her latest studio album.

a softer focus

a softer focus cover

Have you ever thought of closing your eyes and just feel what surrounds you? This is the right moment. And it’s Claire, in San Antonio, Texas, that we’re going to see. Her sounds? Unique, of course. Because there’s nothing better than our everyday lives to make us feel connected to the world.

We unfold into 6 interactions, each one cataloged by feelings, tones, voice messages, you name it.

Preston Ave is the first road. Clicks, sounds, cash registers, or even a typewriter. We decide to go to the map, in order to try to understand if this avenue exists in those parts. And yes, there is one. It is a residential area, one of those types of American movies. The ones where one day we dream of riding a bike, smiling, out of the street.

Out of nowhere, we move on to Discrete (The Market), where we add an organ, piano, and a few other devices that merge our life with the song we are listening to.

We move on to Peak Chroma, where we have the participation, in an almost alienating way, of the artist’s voice. We feel that the whole set comes from the inside as if it were an introspection. And she talks about it, about the loss of a person, at the end of a relationship – and all the twists and turns that this moment makes in our life, until it stabilizes and, fortunately, we move on to another.

In Diluted Dreams we hear cars passing by, children playing in a courtyard, the wind, and, faintly, a dreamy rhythm, where water seems to flow through our body as if it were a real bath. There are voices mixed in, distorted by the crystalline force that surrounds us, but the reality is that everything together could be one of those dreams of ours in which we wake up without really knowing what happened, but which was clearly good.

We stop for a while, get a coffee at our favorite bar. We open the packet of sugar, put it in the cup. We drink a glass of water. Putting all this together into a song? Stoned Gesture, no doubt about it. And it’s the moment we drink the first sip that the first fireworks are released in our minds. And in the song, of course.

We close with A Kind of Promise. And we don’t want to stop listening to this rep. And it is with an ever-elegant piano that we find ourselves in reflection. Of what we are, what we were, what we will be able to become. The world is just that, and it is so well characterized in two minutes and fifty-nine.

Rousay has created an open-air exhibition, available for any listener, wherever they are, to feel integrated into this album. The music accompanies us, and it is with it that we want to be while we navigate that typical stretch of our daily routine. And, of course, it is a WtMM recommendation.

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