Various Artists ~ Celestial Matter

cover“Through art, we can almost touch divinity.”  These words form the introductory statement of new label Subterranean Tide.  The seventeen songs on Celestial Matter are based on a poem by founder Emily Loren Moss Farrell; the poem, which can be read on the cover, fleshes out the statement.  Over the centuries, composers have been fascinated by the music of the spheres, and many of these tracks reflect the idea of orbital resonance.  Farrell’s trifecta of music, poetry and theology creates a comfortable harmony, as these disciplines share the quality of the ineffable.

The compilation contains a drifting, meditative quality conducive to associative thought.   What is beyond the stars? we wonder while staring skyward.  The role of divinity is at stake ~ the connection between creative inspiration and the 8th day.  Darren Harper’s “Sung from Sympathetic Strings” takes the sound of tinkering and applies it to music.  The artist sorts through his supplies as the unknowable Creator organizes resonances and hues.  From this tinkering arises the sound of a small symphony.  Only a small step is needed to connect this process to poetry, to painting, to nature, to a divine spirit.  We are never more than one degree of separation from the holy.

If the collection continued only in this vein, it would still be effective, but Farrell is more ambitious than that, which works to the set’s advantage.  While any attempt to score the divine must fall short by design, it’s wise to include a couple angles.  And so, as the set progresses, darker sounds begin to emerge.  Kluge’s “Tolophie” contains pitches ranging from the extremely low to the extremely high, yet manages to exercise restraint.  Gimu’s “Breathing Through Me” offers a combination of cold drip and catacomb chant, tethering celestial dream to monastic reality.  Farrell and Gimu’s collaboration Caterpillars Dressed In Their Finest adds echoed voices to drones, creating a sense of disassociation.  When drums join the fray, the focus returns.  Has divinity been revealed?  No music, no matter how proficient, can promise such a thing.  But Celestial Matters opens a window to the stars, and invites listeners to look and to listen; to seek, and perhaps to find.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

One comment

  1. “A Closer Listen” has an amazing staff of writers who have opened my eyes to many releases time and time again. Thank you for taking the time to review and listen to this compilation. So honored by the review and to have had the pleasure to work with so many wonderful musicians. Eloquently written.

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