Pitchfork has reported the death of singer-songwriter Cynthia Dall. Dall was a frequent collaborator with fellow Drag City musician Bill Callahan, who sang and played on her 1996 album, which is now called Untitled, but was simply known as that record with the awesome cover and strange awesome songs when it came out: there was no attribution, although it clearly bore the mark of Callahan and fellow Drag City wunderkind Jim O’Rourke. Untitled was the strange hazy soundtrack for my last teenage years; Dall’s songs are still in my blood and brain. Her young death—she was only 41—feels surreal. Dall released Sound Restores Young Men in 2002, and was apparently working on demos for a new album at the time of her death.
From the Drag City website:
We are shocked and deeply disappointed to post this notice: Cynthia Dall passed away at her home in Sacramento last Thursday.
Cynthia was a muse that crossed over into actual-artist-dom. Her self was her original art, a spirit and image that was inspirational on first sight. The ’90s were a great time to start playing music when you didn’t really know the first thing about it other than you liked it, andCynthia was able to use her unique abilities along with her incredible energy to inspire those around her to help her make two really great albums.
It hasn’t sunken in yet that we won’t be hearing from Cindy again. Though she hadn’t released a new album in ten years, she called in regularly, sometimes to talk about her music and plans, sometimes to talk about everything BUT music and plans. She was an enormous fan of the world, and there were few topics that didn’t engage her in some way. Even outrage was conveyed with an enormous vivacity that could not be suppressed. It was this energy that lifted her up above the melancholy that infused her songs, and the devastating visions they often conveyed.
When Cynthia rang us the week before last with an update on the progress of new demos, we were glad to know it; glad to think of her getting her music together and to think of another chapter in the Dall Saga. It is stunning not merely because of the loss of that vision and that unheard record; more stunning and hurtful is to know that we will won’t be talking to her anymore. A light has gone from this world — and we hope you will join us in hoping that it has gone to place of greater peace.
Goodbye Cynthia — we’ll carry your love and joy and sorrow with us until we too are gone.