Noah Klein has been making community-minded music as Cuddle Formation since the start of the decade, and his latest full-length project, Here I’ll Be Forever, continues that inclusive ethos. It was pieced together and recorded in DIY spaces around the country and features contributions from members of those communities, most notably those surrounding the Silent Barn and Death By Audio and Shea Stadium in Brooklyn, Pehrspace and Junior High in Los Angeles, Dreamhaus in Boston. Some of those venues are still around, others have shuttered or on the verge of possible closure, and that ephemerality is reflected in the music that Klein makes. It’s airy and transient, reflective of the powerful and tight-knit communities these spaces can foster and how quickly they can be taken away, whether through legal battles or fire or any number of threats these tenuous spaces face every day.
But these communities don’t live and die by location; they merely shuffle around, adapting to new modes. One of the highlights on the album, “trails to the peaks of mtns,” alludes to an eternal gathering spot: “There’s a place you can go with your friends/ It’s off the beaten path, so you better listen/ Twenty miles out and a hundred yards in/ Just look up at the sky, it’s time to begin/ We’ve been coming here for centuries/ Keep it clean, keep it neat, and it’s dream,” Klein sings atop a scattered beat and a muted guitar. It’s a testament to the openness of nature, and it’s an invitation to create your own space wherever you feel most comfortable doing so, knowing that you’re part of a long lineage of free spirits who have done the same. It’s that sense of history and personal responsibility that makes Here I’ll Be Forever such a comforting and warm listen.
“We can exist and thrive apart from our toxic dominant culture. We can develop and nurture communities founded on empathy, accountability, and abolition,” Klein writes in an introduction to the album. After the week we’ve just had, it’s important to remember that we can exist counter to this new administration and culture of hate and fear, and Here I’ll Be Forever is an affirmation of that fact. Listen below.
Here I’ll Be Forever is out now.