March 14th, 2012 1:00am

Freedom Don’t Ring

Willis Earl Beal “Ghost Robot”

Lo-fi works best when the field-recording quality gives you a sense of space and setting, and forces your mind to fill in some context. With this recording, you really hear the room Beal is playing in, which is almost certainly his own bedroom or living room. The performance comes off like an act of creation brought on by compulsive behavior, like he just has to be in his room making this simple noise and spitting out these odd phrases. I think a lot of us do this sort of thing – I certainly have been singing weird little songs to myself when I’m alone for most of my life. I’m not always getting it on tape, and I think that’s what makes this a bit different, and a bit more compelling – I really like when people have the bravery to let people in on these solitary acts. This is like a line tossed to the outside world, and you can grab it and reel yourself in to Beal if you’re into it. I’m down, at least for this song, which has a wonderful urgency and tunefulness.

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