Zara Joan Miller and Ute Kanngießer
Blue Monday

(November 2023)

Reading Group is very happy to announce the release of Blue Monday, a new LP from Zara Joan Miller and Ute Kanngießer. The LP is the result of the first live collaboration between the poet/artist Miller and the cellist/improvisor Kanngießer, recorded at London’s Café Oto in January of 2023. Kanngießer’s searching, intensive cello lays an amorphous terrain beneath passing fragments of Miller’s poetry (from her 2022 book of the same name from JOAN Publishing), billboards dotting the interior freeway of liminal perception. The micro-world of spectral and textural details within the cello sound seems to dramatize or mirror the micro-world of unspoken implications left unsaid in the gaps between threads of language. At times, these worlds produce a dull anxiety or a quiet fervor, only to be scattered by the occasional swerve to a poetic delivery reminiscent of slow-motion jokes (“I once saw a sign on the side of a road it said SLOW DUST”), a fortuitous error (“a seagull shitting on my face is home”), a mysterious interruption of domestic boredom (“someone’s girlfriend called to say don’t answer”). Occasional dates progressing through time give the sense that we are being driven through a year of blue Mondays, the cello wandering as if seasonally. The live set having been accompanied by a literal slideshow of some cumulative, fictive vacation adds to this sense of the year in review. But the imperceptibility of (tonal and narrative) space between these entry/fragments bring us beyond the stark view of the calendrical and into something less measurable: the space of a syncope: “to witness your life unfolding she said / is the key getting stuck.”

"Yesterday I watched Blue Monday performed as a dialogue between voice and cello by Zara Joan Miller and Ute Kanngießer. A series of images shown on a 35mm slide projector triangulated this conversation, and the darkness of the room protected us all from the terrible blueness of a January afternoon. Images of scarecrows in smiling fields flash by slowly as the solidity of the projector’s mechanism creates a soft thunk against which the sound of the cello is a knife’s edge, the bow moving across a cluster of nerve endings, somehow this unpeeling feels good." (Bella Marin for Map Magazine, January 2023)

Blue Monday, edition of 200 LPs with photographs by Sarah White.
Recorded by Rory Salter, mixed by Billy Steiger, mastered by Matt Bachmann, and released in 2023 by Reading Group (RG28).

Ships October 2023. Pre-order from Bandcamp.

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