Grief is the thing with feathers

Teho Teardo - Grief is the Thing with Feathers - LP, CD, DLD (Specula Records)

Cillian Murphy of Peaky Blinders fame gives an astonishing performance in Enda Walsh’s adaption on Max Porter’s award winning novel, Grief Is The Thing With Feathers, a hear-wrenching meditation on love, loss and living.
For Teho this is the third episode of this ongoing wonderful collaboration with Irish writer and director Enda Walsh and there’s more coming in the near future!
It’s the story of a crow, two motherless children and their dad. Dad is haunted by both terrible and funny memories.
Crow just wants to take care of them all and won’t leave the house until he’s done.
Music has such a strong role on this play because it evokes their dead mum, it passes through the walls like in a membrane and becomes something else, it’s not what you hear, it’s what you think you’re listening to. Music becomes the sound of thoughts, like sonar echoes it measures loss and grief.
On A Bit About Ghosts the wall of sound of cellos that opens the album is a continuous dialog between strings and electronics, percussions and slide guitars. Track after track Teho investigates several possibilities of interaction between strings and electronics, completely dependant on each other: one is wave and the other is shore.
Strings aren’t a matter of arrangement, they build a powerful structure. Nothing needs to be adorned here, no embellishments here, it’s about grief.
Even when the music evokes mum, her warmth and safety are delivered through distant voices full of debris, like a dark matter whose limits we don’t know.
This is probably Teho’s darkest work to date, an emotional lesson in survival where all elements involved are waiting for their reinstatement into the sphere of light.

The music for Grief Is The Thing with Feathers sounds to me, now, like my childhood. It sounds like the loss of a parent. It sounds like playing with my brother. It sounds like listening in to adult conversations. It sounds like growing up, making mistakes, writing things down, tearing them up, failing, trying again, falling in love. It sounds like remembering and mis-remembering realising they are in tune with each other, teaching us gently how to live in this strange world. 
It's hard to listen to Teho's music without feeling profoundly sad, and very hopeful. And this is good. It is his gift to us. 
It sounds like imaginary territories perfectly bleaching into real ones. 
To me it sounds like the scratch of my pen on a page. Like the pitter patter scrape of bone-on-wood, an imaginary crow walking across a real stage. It is bird-like. It is children talking in their sleep. 
Teho's music doesn't sound like these things, it feels like these things. 
It's a part of me, and a part of you. 
Teho understands. He read the book, he looked me in the eye, he watched the director and the actor whispering, huddling, dreaming how a literary thing could become a theatrical thing without betraying it, and he understood immediately. As if he could already hear it. 
He has always been hearing it. We simply needed to meet. 

Max Porter

Written, recorded, mixed, produced by Teho Teardo at The Basement Recordings, Roma, January 2017/September 2018

Teho Teardo - guitars, bass, rhodes piano, celesta, organ, modulad synths, electricity, electronic objects, percussions, bells, autoharp, plastic crows.

Laura Bisceglia, Giovanna Famulari - cello

Ambra Chiara Michelangeli - viola, violin

Vanessa Cremaschi, Elena De Stabile - violin

Susanna Buffa - vocals

Elena Somarè - whistle

Gabriele Coen - bass clarinet, clarinet

Joe Lally - electronic tablas, bass

Mastering - Michael Schwabe at Monoposto, Dusseldorf

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