Dora Elizabeth

by H Stewart

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about

Dora Elizabeth

The passing of a close relative is one of life’s unfortunate, but certain to occur, events. This is even more true if that loved one served the roles of friend, comforter, teacher, and was also a source refuge and unconditional love. Such individuals are never really forgotten, because the essence of their being is forever embedded in our mind. The things that they did and said – the things that shaped our lives and inspired us - endure. Nor are thoughts about them ever absent from our minds or long. A certain odor or sound or even the slant of sunlight at a particular time of day or season might summon some recollection or fond memory of the person.

Dora Elizabeth is a milestone for H Stewart in two respects. Most important, the album serves as a tribute and memorial to her maternal Grandmother. From the composer’s heart to the listener, this is a musical story of Dora Elizabeth’s life. To quote H Stewart:

There are those of us lucky enough to have encountered the gods of our own time, the people who helped create and shape us into what we are and what we give the world. I was but clay in her loving hands. Let us all take this opportunity to ensure that she and all of those who have shaped us never really die.

She sums it all up quite nicely with these poetic words: “all the good things about me are her fault.”

Dora Elizabeth lived some 87 years enjoying life in general but also taking in stride all of the tribulations that such a long lifespan brings. “Comprehending Sunrise” celebrates her birth while “A Ballad for the Lost “and “The Dirt Road” chronicle the hard times of the Great Depression. The “Elk’s Lodge” memorialises a decade long courtship and eventual uniting of Dora Elizabeth and H Stewart’s grandfather. They were married at an Elk’s lodge in Arkansas. The track “Her Love” has a significance spanning the entirety of Dora Elizabeth’s life, while “Cancer” marks the final stage of the story, a beautiful lamentation that brings Dora Elizabeth’s life to a poignant close. The hazy ambiance and reverberating vocals of “Ever After” provide for aural metaphor of a surreal conversation from beyond the grave and track makes for a fitting conclusion to the album.

In addition to being H Stewart’s first physical release, Dora Elizabeth marks an important departure in style from previous netlabel releases on Clinical Archives, Frigida Records, and Test Tube being her first serious venture into instrumentation and is certainly her most musical release to date. Created on a Casio with the assistance bass player and sound engineer Robert Herrmann II, the majority of the tracks are instrumental, but her sweet, haunting vocals are still present, and especially notable is the heart-rending “Her Love”. The tracks were recorded and layered before being processed electronically.

No specific genre does justice in describing Dora Elizabeth in its entirety. Experimental in general, Dora Elizabeth blends elements of traditional musical samples and structures with the highly atypical. In listening again to her prior works, it’s clear that H Stewart is not afraid of testing the boundaries of experimental music and pushing into new territory. Dora Elizabeth takes her and the listener another step further. I’m sure that Dora Elizabeth is pleased.

credits

released October 27, 2009

In memory of Dora Elizabeth.
Music recorded in Carroll, Iowa USA by H Stewart
Words by Larry Johnson

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Moving Furniture Records Amsterdam

Moving Furniture Records is a label based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands specialized in releasing experimental electronic run by Sietse van Erve, started in October 2008.

We are mostly interested in drones, minimalist, microtonal and field-recordings music.
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