Gregory Euclide is an artist and teacher living in the Minnesota River Valley. A recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, his work has been featured in museum exhibitions both across the country and abroad and has been featured in a variety of prestigious publications. His work has also been frequently connected to music. He provided the memorable cover for Bon Iver‘s self-titled 2012 Grammy winning record as well as album covers for a number of artists featured on these pages including Will Samson, Seabuckthorn, and Loscil – which brings us to the topic at hand, the THESIS project founded by Euclide in 2016 with assistance from Gabor Kerekes. More specifically, the occasion is the first CD release from this remarkable project, Thesis Collected 01, which allows entry into its vault of musical wonders for those for whom the vinyl format is still a constraint.
For those not already familiar with the project, it has two modes of collaboration. The main M.O. is a pairing of two musicians to create a collaborative audio work which is released on a 10″ vinyl record with one-of-a-kind handmade packaging. Then there is “Print/Track” which involves two musicians working separately to each create a side of a 10″ record which is released with two unique art prints that were either created in reaction to the music or vice versa. Thesis Collected 01 is a generous and beautifully sequenced sampler representative of what has been created thus far in a limited CD edition with handmade jacket & sleeve.
For anyone who follows experimental ambient, electroacoustic, and modern classical music, the list of artists represented here is jaw-dropping, but more than that, the sublime pairings Euclide has come up with are often quite surprising yet inevitably sound as if they were always meant to be. Who would have thought have putting electroacoustic ambient pioneer Taylor Deupree with drummer and indie/folk singer S. Carey? Yet “The Iron Town” is a brilliant and enchanting track that works on every level. In other cases, the compatibilities of the artists are a little more self-evident, but no less inspired or satisfying in their outcome – Tony Dekker (Great Lake Swimmers) & Kinbrae, Sophie Hutchings & Julia Kent, Loscil & Seabuckthorn, Anna Rose Carter & Dag Rosenqvist (From the Mouth of the Sun), Angus MacRae & InsaDonjaKai, Benoît Pioulard & Dustin O’Halloran, Aaron Martin & Tilman Robinson. Julianna Barwick & Raphael Anton Irisarri, Andrew Hargreaves & Andrew Johnson, and Takeshi Nishimoto & Roger Döring. In addition from the Print/Track series, there are gorgeous pieces from Will Samson and Kyle Bobby Dunn as well as a digital-only bonus track from Ed Carlsen.
Unless you are already a subscriber to the project and own the recordings, this pristine collection is simply a must have for anyone with even a casual interest in this constellation of genres. Thesis Collected 01 is imaginatively curated, beautifully performed, impeccably arranged, and still allows you to hold a unique work of art in your hands while being grateful that artists like Euclide have both the passion and wherewithal to remind us to value the ephemerality of thoughtful creative works. And if it prompts a few more of us to get that old turntable fixed up and dig deeper into the catalog, all the better.
As a footnote, if you want to learn more about THESIS and get deeper insights from Euclide himself, there is a fine interview with added perspective on A Strangely Isolated Place which would be well worth your time to read.