Kramer's "Stars Will Die Tonight" Premieres at Echoes
by John Diliberto 8/4/2022
Take a ride into space when Kramer shares “Stars Will Die Tonight,” the latest single off his recently announced LP, Music for Films Edited by Moths, out August 26 via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings.
Kramer isn’t one of those musicians whose name leaps immediately to mind outside of his rarefied sonic milieu. His real name is Stephen Bonner and he’s been on the New York outside music scene since the late 1970s. He was in the bands New York Gong, Shockabilly, Bongwater and Dogbowl & Kramer, and has played bass in the touring bands of Butthole Surfers, B.A.L.L., Ween, and Half Japanese. He’s also been part of the John Zorn coterie of musicians. Along with all that he founded the Shimmy-Disc label which recorded many of the aforementioned artists as well as Galaxie 500, King Missile, Ruins and Gwar. The label was sold to the Knitting Factory, but he revived it in 2020.
From those names you can hear that Kramer was on the bleeding and dissonant edge of music. He stayed there with a series of idiosyncratic rock albums as well as collaborating with bassist Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine on the 2012 album, Huge, which took him into an improvised electric jazz setting.
With his latest release, Music for Films Edited by Moths, he moves into an area somewhere between ambient chamber music and drone zone. His latest single and video from it “Stars Will Die Tonight,” is a gorgeous, serene piece of minimalist-tinged progression as it builds through an ostinato pulse and slow motion electronic swells. A pulse emerges as a piano augments the frail melody, followed by strings that appear out of nowhere building to a crescendo across its nearly five minutes, ascending into swirling contrapuntal spirals before disappearing into the ether.
As with the first single “Like the Planets Love the Sun,” this song is accompanied by a video from visual artist Tinca Veerman. She creates minutely evolving moods with orb-like images on “Like the Planets Love the Sun,” and drifting clouds on “Stars Will Die Tonight.” Her patient process reflects the sound of Kramer’s ambient chamber music compositions, which take you into a dream-state of intense concentration. It asks you to see the microscopic movements of time and space. You will want to watch this full-screen.