dean wareham / purple mountains

Perhaps it’s just me, but are you one of those folk, who if not careful, can easily find yourself being sucked down various rabbit holes on the internet, ultimately ending up in a good place wondering to yourself, how on earth did I get here. Case in point here, a journey that started with an email update of Cheval Sombre happenings including news of an expanded reissue, first time on vinyl mind, of his debut full length ‘Diamond’. Originally released on Dean and Britta’s Double Feature imprint, the collection celebrates its 10th anniversary with a twin disc makeover through Fat Elvis that features not only the original mix intact but will be bolstered by the inclusion of a host of previously unreleased cuts and early takes, all this accompanied with Ben Javens original artwork and a coloured vinyl pressing. Heartening news indeed, but then within two or three hops or clicks (if you really want to be pedantic), we found our trip momentarily pausing at the Section 26 sound cloud page whereupon we were greeted by a cover of Purple Mountains’ humbling ‘snow is falling in Manhattan’ by, who else but, Dean Wareham. Apparently pulled from a far bigger compilation titled ‘approaching perfection – a tribute to DC Berman’, which we will try to source for further mention in the coming week or so. As said, a tribute to David Berman who died by his own hand in August, the Silver Jews man had retired from music in 2009 after an extensive career stretching to some two decades. Announcing he was recording and writing again in 2019, he chose the name Purple Mountains, an album was completed and released shortly before his death through Drag City while plans for a stateside tour were at the point of finalisation. From that album, one of the stand out tracks, ‘snow is falling in Manhattan’ here retreated by Dean Wareham, is served with his trademark immaculate spectral, stripped back, fragile and majestic, Wareham sprays his frosted forlorn hush to strangely endow the track with a coolly caressing celebratory warmth imparting a radiant stateliness that cuts deep to the bone and fills you with a bitter sweetly shivering inner glow.

Strange how certain tracks take on a whole new meaning / perspective in the light of a tragedy. This is the Purple Mountains’ original of the track, sorry for having to use a sound video that’s clearly been posted as an unrelated advertisement by some chancer. Grumbles aside, this version comes kissed with a hymnal glow, there’s a homeward bound misty intimacy attaching here that sends a clear message of hope and yes its dusted and charmed in a yuletide tingle trimmed in a sepia sighing nostalgic, which collectively grace it with a peaceful seasonal genteel.

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