School of Seven Bells

Benjamin Curtis, the guitarist for School of Seven Bells, passed away December 29 from lymphoma.

I'm not entirely sure how I first came across School of Seven Bells, but I have two distinct early memories of their music. One is listening to Alpinisms while burning incense in the first private room I ever had, a sublet maybe ten-by-ten feet with a matress on the floor, that I stayed in the summer after sophomore year. The other is hearing the opening of Iamundernodisguise and feeling a chill and the certain knowledge I was in for something different.

Two years later, in 2010, they put out their second album, Disconnect from Desire, and their sound (like my life) had changed quite dramatically while still being unmistakably itself. I went to a small show at The Middle East on September 11. After the show the members manned the merch table themselves and I bought a copy of both records which they generously signed; Benjamin complimented my (ridiculous red polyester) shirt. It was a good show.

Another two years on, in 2012, SVIIB has a new record out, Ghostory. It has a sound that's both different and characteristic (again), and I'm living in Japan. In a bit of luck their tour for the new album has a stop in Tokyo (they're still the only act I've seen in both Japan and the States). The opening act was long and strange - I remember nothing about the music, only that the video was a cross-country drive with almost no cuts that went on for the better part of an hour. The show was good, but larger than the one in Boston; the band disappeared after the encore and the venue emptied out almost as quickly.

Updates after Benjamin was hospitalized indicated he was still working on songs, but there's (understandably) been no official updates since his death. The fan twitter and tumblr have been posting photos, obituaries, and other rememberances.

I don't have anything clever to say or anything to sum this up. Sometimes things just happen and they're bad. To everyone who knew him, I wish them peace; and to Benjamin, well, Thanks. Ψ