Josephine Foster’s Little Life [a “prev. unreleased home recording”] was one of several big refreshing breaths on Devendra Banhart’s The Golden Apples of the Sun sampler which Arthur magazine gave away in 2004 [here]. For me it was the most mysteriously rackety track -amongst Diane Cluck, Coco Rosie, Joanna Newsom, Antony’s The Lake- while also sounding like running water. I loved it.
Subsequent releases confirmed that it’s her voice, in concentrated form and as unaccompanied as possible, that I like. I kept missing her perform live, most recently in Porto for the opening of the new Serralves Foundation’s Collection where she was playing in the related festival at exactly the same time as my flight. I finally caught up with her at Cafe Oto, London in December, singing with a fine band but a band nevertheless.
It confirmed that the voice was her own, but I was hoping to hear from her new CD -As Graphic as a Star- on which she sings 26 Emily Dickinson poems, accompanied by crickets. I might have been a bit sceptical about the project had I not been writing notes to ED from a fruit store myself. Writing back to Emily Dickinson’s letters, wondering why it felt necessary, noting unavoidable parallels and differences.
So although I’ve completed one novel and begun another, written critical pieces of varying length but not one email in the fruit store, the first real ‘notes’ are this series which will take many months to complete. I’m tempted to claim that they’re a form of warm up exercise, in the way that Harry Mathews so nicely pretended his 20 Lines a Day were. But no, what follows are completely sincere inky whisperings which I do alone in my solitary room on the second storey of a real fruit store…