Poetic Memory: Sin Ropas (List)

Pool of Tears 2 by Kiki Smith

Sin Ropas, the project of former Red Red Meat bassist Tim Hurley and percussionist Danni Iosello, just released Holy Broken, their first album in five years. If you’ve ever wondered where a big part of that signature RRM sound came from — or what the band might sound like today if they hadn’t split — Holy Broken is your record. If you’ve never wondered that, but you still like fuzzy bass lines, grungy guitars, and two-part harmonies, then Holy Broken is still for you.

Both Tim and Danni were kind enough to provide us with their Poetic Memories, two lists of influences that range from “old guys singing” to Kafka. It’s a great list — one of our most evocative ever — and you can read it below.

For a sample of Holy Broken, check out “The Fever You Fake” (MP3).

Tim Hurley

1. New instruments: I just bought a cornet at a yard sale. I can only barely make the little beast skweek a bit, but I spent four hours with it getting guitar loops and playing over them. I like the unfamiliar ground I’m thrust into. Made me play in a key I had never played in before. The horn led indirectly to a melody that I will use in a song.

2. Old guys singing: Before a show one time, a Ralph Stanley song came on and everybody kind of stopped what they were doing to listen. I watch Son House do “Death Letter” two or three times a week.

3. Found melody and sounds: Porch chimes, slowed down bird chirping, slowed down teapot boiling noise, coincidental conflux of street boys, squeaky doors, cat purrs, and plumbing noise.

4. The Madison County Municipal Landfill: I built a shed with lumber I pulled. I will eventually take a bath in a cast iron clawfoot tub somebody threw out. It takes effort to let the raw materials for all the projects I see continue down the endless American stream of castoffs.

5. Meaning that crawls out of nonsense: I’m not very good at this but I like it when it happens.

Danni Iosello

1. Franz Kafka in a letter: “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us…we need the books that affect us like disaster, that grieve us deeply…like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside of us.” This is what I want from everything.

2. The etching “Pool of Tears 2” by Kiki Smith (A copy of which I received on a postcard from a friend): The image is of a girl chest-deep and paddling in a barren, deep water landscape (of tears), fleeing from, or fleeing with, an assorted group of animals, mostly birds, but including a sloth? a hippo? and some other furry-looking beasties, who are also in the water. The animals and birds are behind and moving in the same direction as the girl. Many of the creatures have their faces turned knowingly toward the viewer.

This postcard is usually floating around somewhere on my desk and when I come across it, buried under a stack of notes for a story or unpaid bills, I end up stopping what I’m doing to look at it.

3. Lists: Your own or someone else’s. There is something lonely about lists. You can find them anywhere — in a shopping cart, the coffee shop, left behind in a library book. They’re so personally specific yet can be stretched into an imaginary trajectory of a life.

4. The tundra of the garbage dump: It’s like the beginning and the end of the world.

5. The Sun

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