Agitated Atmosphere: 1958-2009 - 1958-2009

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as 1958-2009.

The spirituality that poured across the world the day Michael Jackson passed was a rare spectacle to behold. No matter the opinion of his actions, his frozen, childlike presence, or his music, millions of devotees and admirers fell to the ground in unrivaled anguish. As it is with the world, we bring celebrity into our homes. We cherish those we bring into our circle and for many none were closer to family than the self-proclaimed King of Pop.

The numerous tributes from all walks of life continue to pour two years after Michael Jackson’s unfortunate passing. Paramount above most—and perhaps the strangest of them all in terms of scale and scope—belongs to the duo of Matthew Sullivan and Alex Twomey. Collectively known as 1958-2009 (in honor of the birth and death years of Michael Jackson), the twosome entrenched in DIY drone (Sullivan running the venerable Ekhein cassette label and recording as Earn; Twomey recording under the name Mirror to Mirror and running the equally intriguing Jugular Forest) have created a trilogy of tapes dedicated to the memory of Jackson.

But now we stand starring at the abyss. Like the sad end to Jackson’s life, 1958-2009 say goodbye with one final self-titled release—this time a LP released via Amethyst Sunset. The tone is far more somber than the band’s trio of releases. Unlike those cassettes, each littered with a picture of Jackson at various points on his career, the band’s first and last LP is the art of finality. The album art is pictures of memorials dedicated to Jackson; the inner sleeve two children dressed up to resemble Michael Jackson.

The music mimics the change in attitude. The airy ambience of Sullivan and Twomey’s guitar and synth attack once played like Jackson’s ascension into the afterlife. Here, it plays like the ultimate comedown; the moment when you realize a proper and pat goodbye must be said. Each side consists on one lengthy piece, neither wavering from the stalwart pattern. Side A stands a bit more optimistic as droplets of crystalline guitar fall upon the stoic synth melody, which seems to morph into a one sustained church organ salute as its sine wave mellows. Side B, though maintaining the same gossamer emotion of its counterpart, is also the inverse of its sibling. The guitar, though gentle, plays darkly as it weaves into the finite melody and elegantly fades away.

Listen to an excerpt from 1958-2009:

The sad realization isn’t just on the shoulders of Michael Jackson’s passing; it’s the end of Sullivan and Twomey’s tribute. The untimely demise of any talent should be mourned and with 1958-2009’s LP, we remember the talents of three individuals from different walks of life, yet each fully giving of their gifts.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. He also pens Deserted for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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