Released on June 24th, It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry is a surprising triumph of atmospheric, trance-inducing music that lures the listener into its unique world. This collaboration between Christian Fennesz and Jim O’Rourke brings us a beautifully composed 2-song album that spans musical genres and traditions.
The first track, “I Just Want You To Stay” begins with a wall of sound. It’s almost impossible to pick out exact instruments, synths and static, but regardless – it’s an incredible start. The music reminds listeners of an orchestra that’s gone a bit weird, or electronica that has slowed down and is making its way in a world of molasses. After a while, the music has a lulling effect and brings us to a place that is only accessible when accompanied by this track. It’s a pensive, dreamlike state that’s extremely pleasant to experience but strangely painful to surface from. The music ripples and wavers throughout; some moments strike listeners as transcendent, others as flat and uninspired. The latter portions are probably simply a symptom of having such a drawn-out track. But overall, the entire piece is an incredible listen.
The second track, “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Swept Away” is similar to “I Just Want You To Stay” in that it is composed of intricately-woven harmonies and synths with little to no percussion. However, it is much more delicate than the first track. It begins with simple tones and gives the listener some nice, relaxing moments before really exposing the meat of the piece. It feels more traditional than “I Just Want You To Stay” in that the instruments used are distinguishable as traditional symphonic instruments. Horns, cellos, violins – all of these are discernible when listening to this track, especially in the beginning. It does move into sound-wall territory rather quickly, but it incorporates chords that are much more pleasing. “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Swept Away” is, as a result, more predictable than the other track on the album, which is not a bad thing.
It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry is an atmospheric treat and is technically stunning. It’s intricately-woven pieces are just cool, and the epic moments that occur multiple times within each 18+ minute track are worth sticking around for. This record is a must-listen.