amusingmusings on Sudan Archives’ ‘Athena’

amusingmusings is a feature from Counterzine contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers ‘Athena,’ the debut LP from Los Angeles-based musician Sudan Archives.


*A PIG and a SECAT wander down a coarse dirt road.

pig: doo dee doo

secat: dum dee dum

BOTH: doo dee day!!

secat: oh pig! What a wonderful, cross-species friendship we have nourished, ever since our nice Jenny Hval discussion..

secat: what wonderful teatimes we have had together, in the dead of night…

secat: and thanks for letting me crash at your cozy forest bungalow for the past few days.. I really mean it..

pig: oh, it’s no trouble, no trouble at all!

secat: really.. there must be something I can do to repay you..

pig: well..

secat: anything!!

pig: ok. Tell you what. I have a task for you. Walk down to the stream at the edge of the forest, and gather up as much fresh MUD as you can from the banks. Just scoop it up in your arms

pig: I must say that a puddle of MUD is my only vice.. That, and warm milk before bed

secat: I can surely do that!.. Oh, but first, can I gush about an album at you?

pig: but of course, mr. secat!

secat: Splendid! The very latest entry into my “POSSIBLE CONTENDERS FOR MY ALBUM OF THE YEAR” club.. it’s.. It’s..


pig: “ATHENA” by SUDAN ARCHIVES. Ooh, it rolls off of the tongue.. [author’s note: do pigs have tongues??]

secat: oh, yes, God, yes, it does! And this album, it rolls smokily off of the various crevasses and frequency receptors of my ears and wiggles its way into my very SOUL. It is a svelte, simmering R&B cauldron boiling over with heart, charm, and inspired production and composition.

pig: ah.. Does that mean it’s good?.. you’re doing the thing where you say all the words at once again.. [author’s note: YES OF COURSE pigs have tongues. Get a GRIP, sec!!]

secat: yes it is GOOD. Good and PURE.

secat: this is like the kind of album that’s playing in the background when you smoke a cigarette on a hotel room balcony and watch the sun go down. only I don’t smoke, so.. maybe more of an album to enjoy a lollipop to… Sophisticatedly, of course

pig: “lollipop”?

secat: oh, sweet pig! A “lollipop” is a thing you lick and lick and lick. And you have a tongue, so you can do that. I’ll buy you a tootsie pop

pig: “tootsie”… “pop”?

secat: do not worry your brain about this. Allow me to go on.

secat: here is a Serious Music Review type statement: “Sudan Archives melds sharp, architectural string composition with airy, glossy production to create a babbling brook of elegant and moving sensuality on ATHENA.”

pig: goodness! How did you do that with your voice?

secat: hours of practice! And a lot of time watching crummy VOX videos

secat: I play the cello (poorly) and the work on this album makes me wish I had dedicated even a half inch of passion to my instrument while I was learning it in middle & high school. The string instrumentation sprinkled throughout is just lovely.. aargh.. It’s too late for me.. I wasted all my potential.. I suuuuuckkk…

pig: cheer up! You’ve still got plenty of time to improve, silly

pig: why, I’m quite an old pig myself, but I learn something new every day 🙂 for instance you have taught me an awful lot about which seasons of SURVIVOR are good and which ones are not

secat: ah, that I have, pig..

secat: this album is full of ebullient songs to sing along to very loudly with your head sticking out of an open car window, like a dog: take, for instance, “Iceland Moss” or “Limitless”

pig: a dog, hm?.. oh, I wonder how old Mr. and Mrs. Hound are doing.. it’s been an awfully long while since we sat down for tea together..

secat: I’d also like to highlight “Black Vivaldi Sonata” as a little moment for me on my first listen through where I really sat up and thought to myself, “oh, this album is GOOD.”

secat: something interesting, though, is that I almost found the little interludes and snippet tracks (“Ballet of the Unhatched Twins 1,” “House of Open Tuning II”) to be more compelling than the fully fleshed-out songs, ESPECIALLY “House of Open Tuning II.” There is real magic in the way the sonic hallmarks of the album express themselves on these interludes, and I only hope that they are further explored and followed up on in later releases..

secat: all in all, it’s a total wowza! Can’t wait to see what this artist does next. And I am also kicking myself a little for not exploring her work when it was introduced to me earlier.

pig: never you mind that.. Now if you’d please go gather up that nice MUD I was talking about.. :3

secat: right away, pig!


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

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