I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time. Actually, I started to do so before the beginning of the year, even, but I kept putting it off because I didn’t know which direction I wanted the narrative to go. I’ve finally decided to just get it up here because if I wait any longer I’m going to defeat my whole purpose which was always simply to get The Russian Apartments up at 24hourpartypooper.
My original story, which I’ve since decided was too personal, was a long, 1000+ word piece about how I met Michael Caulfield, the man behind the music, a little over 20 years ago and how, after a years-long separation, we finally reconnected. I may still write it one day but, for now, let’s suffice it to say that Caulfield is someone I immediately admired and who was a key part of my first year in Athens, GA.
Ever since I met him, I knew Michael (who’s from Keene, New Hampshire) as a singer-songwriter who played acoustic guitar. His songs, the ones I originally heard when we met and ones he would occasionally get to me through the years, were always knowledgeably constructed and poignant but lacked the oomph! I suspected he had in him. After switching things up to a music that is primarily keyboard based his creativity seems to have exploded. When I first heard these tracks I couldn’t believe it was the same person.
I’ve never held the belief that keyboards and synthesizers are necessarily emotionally cold. In the right hands they can wrench emotions out of a listener just as sure as the purest blues riff. I’ve gotten chills and been on the verge of tears every time I’ve listened to Russian Apartments’ Gods single. There’s only, basically, three lines of lyrics in the whole song but when Caulfield sings “When I was young I had my gods/And I believed in every one” there’s not much else to say. I’m floored by how he is able to so completely describe both youth and aging in a mere two lines.
The five sets of recordings available over at The Russian Apartments’ Bandcamp site are free. All you’ve gotta do is provide your email address. Caulfield specifically says to please not pay him for these records but to share them as widely as possible. So there ya go.
GNAR Tapes is going to release the Double Phantasm sometime this spring. The first track from it “Queen of America” and some ardent fan made a video for several months ago that Caulfield didn’t even know about until a friend told him.
A couple of wise folks interviewed Caulfield late last year. You can read those pieces here and here. I plan on doing my own interview with him, too, and I probably better do that in short order. For now, go download these records and pass them on. And would ya look at the links below and how easy I’ve made it for you?