"We are here on this earth as instruments of love," Will Schreitz croons on "Her Message," from his newest release, the dreamy '80s homage '19-'20. "You can call me naive, but I still believe it's true."
This sets the stage for 30-ish -minutes of love-propelled rumination from the veteran songwriter and local music mainstay as his new persona, Blue Video. '19-'20 feels like a departure for Schreitz, whose previous efforts with bands like Cult Tourist felt decidedly more indie rock, and whose own solo work with his project William K.O. had a similar flavor, but a much rougher quality. This-here is quality drum-machine jams on par with your Talk Talks or your Depeche Modes, and with Schreitz writing and recording nearly everything on an old, used Alesis drum machine, it's like a fun reminder that the well-known songsmiths of the '80s were making it up as they went along, giving both freshness and urgency to their tunes.
It's funny to use qualifiers like "freshness" and "urgency" when describing a throwbacky album, but with Schreitz tapping Theo Krantz (head of local label Cry Like Donna and a studied musician in his own right) for production work, the songs feel every bit as new as they do familiar.
"I guess I would say they're kind of abstractions of love songs," Schreitz tells SFR. "They deal with desire and excitement, which I feel are abstractions of pop music in general—they sort of point to a particular meaning, but I'm not trying to convince you one way or another."
Still, love and desire aside, Schreitz has gone darker than ever. These seven songs have been in the works for some time, and he says he was isolating to work on them even before the pandemic rules came to pass. That's resulted in some heady introspection and a look at the shape of the world. Take album closer "True," wherein Schreitz sings to himself, "I hear you crying 'cause the world's too real—your world is made of violence."
"It's about being a country that was built on violence, and how the things we turn to as safe—technology, a record, even a movie—are built upon a history of violence," he says. "We create a world that is safe, whether it's by making or experiencing art, since we can't really change things in the word immediately. Having the power to create that world, whether it's through art or even friendships, is one act that we can do."
This is where love, desire and excitement come back. Escapism is a word that gets bandied about in a pejorative sense, while nebulous terms like "wellness" and "self-care" fuel bazillion-dollar industries. Schreitz' new efforts, alongside the guidance of Krantz, prove escapism can come in simpler forms, like the drum machine of a bedroom pop record playing New Wave-esque backing beats under an imperfect voice reminding us we can and should be instruments of love.
-After however-long without access to state-subsidized arts and history institutions, places like the Museum of International Folk Art and the New Mexico History Museum are opening up once more—albeit with smaller numbers allowed inside, as long as they're masked. Make sure you hit the sites or make the calls before you just show up. Things change quickly these days.
-The Keep Santa Fe Multicultural group (keepsantafemulticultural.org), which has vehemently opposed the state's Department of Cultural Affairs tearing down the Gilberto Guzman mural "Multi-Cultural" to make way for its Vladem Contemporary satellite wing of the New Mexico Museum of Art, was out there on Guadalupe Street protesting over the weekend following the announcement that construction on the new space was beginning last week. In a press release from the DCA, SFR learned that the mural would indeed be retired, though Keep Santa Fe Multicultural organizers have repeatedly said museum and state officials had promised to keep them abreast of construction developments—which never happened.
-Venerable Canyon Road gallery Turner Carroll (turnercarrollgallery.com) hits the big three-oh this year, which is pretty huge. Tonya Turner Carroll and Michael Carroll founded the space in 1991, and have since shown some of our all-time faves, specifically Nina Tichava, whose mixed-media paintings are soooo good for staring.
–Alas de Agua Art Collective is making Mondays all about murals, with ongoing workshops in planning and execution. Word is, workshop leaders will dig into DIY ethos, grant writing, wall prep and budgeting, among other ways to slap your vision onto the biggest wall you can find.
-Word on the street is that the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts is hiring two grant-funded positions: Curatorial Assistant and a part-time security guard. Find more info, including the long and complicated links to apply, on the museum’s Facebook page.