Choose your own cover? Quite cool. Igo Hoogveld’s art graces the covers of From These Hands; those who purchase the disc will have their choice of ten. For those who have difficulty making decisions, a deluxe edition is also available, featuring the complete set.
At first glance, From These Hands is an art release. But on second glance, it’s a poetry project: a poem by label owner Leonardo Rosado entitled “All things yet to be shaped” inspired the illustrations. This poem, a deep and impressionistic offering delivered in a mournful and restrained cadence, appears at the beginning of the fifth track under a slightly different title. Some may argue that this is the album’s pivotal moment: the appearance of the voice, the intention, the point. And yet, the album was not built around the poem, but the poem in reaction to the music: “I am all things yet to be shaped – a grain of sand yet to become a desert, a drop of water waiting for the storm, a spark of light at the tallest hour of the winter night”.
We last encountered the music of Bobby Jones (I’ve Lost) in conjunction with Birds of Passage; his subtle, drawn-out guitar notes and tones are well suited to the addition of collaborators, as they provide a barren field in which signs of life are suggested, but never spelled out. “I’ve Lost” is a fitting name, as Jones’ music sounds lonely and forlorn, at times almost defeated. But perhaps – as is apparent here – his music is also the grain of sand waiting to become the desert: a larger loneliness, profound in scope. His music invites the listener to ruminate, to come to conclusions that might not otherwise be made, accessing sublimated thought and buried emotion.
The larger story is that From These Hands is not an art release, a poetry project, or a music set, but all three, offered from the hands of its creators. This interdisciplinary collaboration is a laudable foray into a possible future in which the arts operate not in separate arenas, but in conjunction, forming more than the sum of their parts. (Richard Allen)