Bob Dylan, in his 2006 Rolling Stone interview, said "You do the best you can, you fight that technology in all kinds of ways, but I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really. You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them. There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like -- static." This quote has been used generously to make the case that modern mp3-ready music is manufactured for the undiscerning ear.
Meredith Bragg might have been inspired by this quote as he recorded the songs on Silver Sonya, not so much to make an album without "sound all over," but to use that static and sound to enhance the definition of other elements. That static and sound, by the way, is ironically created from the minimal elements of Meredith's voice and guitar only. The reshaped sounds in Ballad of An Opportunist, for example, take nothing away from the vocals and clean fingerpicking, with that double pedal point on the high strings enhanced and showcased by gentle waves of noise. The pulsations in Twin Arrows create an undercurrent that contrasts with the grounded, organic guitar chords, giving the listener the feeling that something is amiss underfoot, and a collapse looms.
As quoted on MeredithBragg.com:
"I want to make a record with just voice and acoustic guitar, but I don't want it to sound anything like a regular voice-and-guitar record." So we made a rule: our sound source palette had to be strictly limited to these two colors, but the results could be as psychedelic as we wanted. Any technique was fair game, so long as we never broke the one rule. Yes! Fun!
Here are a couple of tracks from Silver Sonya, mp3 player-ready:
Meredith Bragg - Ballad Of An Opportunist (mp3)
Meredith Bragg - Twin Arrows (mp3)