‘In Heaven, everything is fine.
You’ve got your good things and you’ve got mine’.
Love is elusive; you can feel it, but you can’t touch the emotion, at least not in a physical way. Love is shy to show her face, preferring to stay out of sight for long periods. Her heavenly presence, guarded against the eyesight so as to be unseen, ensures that you can’t reach out a hand and embrace the emotion, but you can still feel the heat when she is there, surrounding all of you while lighting the match that will set your heart on fire. Like music, like romance, love can heal, change a heart and change a life; the touch of a loved one is found in an arc of a thousand smiles. In this vale of tears, sensual kisses are left to sustain, lovingly left lingering, staying a little longer on the skin in her long reaches of delay and reverb. Love is here.
Bluhm are a dream couple, comprising of Tim Diagram and vocalist Genoveva. A shared love for music has brought them together; one passion, one devotion. In The Vale Of Tears is the outcome, finding itself on the very pretty Fluid Audio. And it isn’t just pretty music, it’s gorgeous. Atmospherically alive, the music looks through rose-coloured windows onto what could be Heaven itself. Lyrically sure, Genoveva’s voice is a sweet perfume, a playful fragrance that caresses the ambient layers with a beautiful vocal freedom; the same kind of freedom found in love.
Opener “The Mirror Of My Soul” soars immediately away, her soulful, soaring voice a kiss in the breeze, arriving at Oriental-influenced tones that echo outwards. Her voice then splashes softly into pools of lighter tones, like rose petals floating in romantic, scented waters as bubbles drift through the air. In The Vale Of Tears will drape a loving arm around your shoulder, consoling you with the potential of renewal, encouraging you forward and extracting any strand of prolonged melancholia as if it were a protruding thorn continuing to wound the flesh and the spirit. “Eventide” longs to let go, to be set free, sent into the light with the heart-felt words “release me” tugging at the sky. Hope can be found in the lucid atmosphere, which successfully avoids any dark clouds that may try to approach and upset the positive vibe.
You can’t have a little rainbow without a little rain; Bluhm understand that experiences shape us, be they negative or positive. Learning takes place, we develop, strengthen, carry on. In The Vale Of Tears charts the flip side, too – but only to show us how hope is formed. Bluhm are opening their hands as well as their hearts – upsetting times can make us appreciate what we have, and this appreciation burns the fuel that enables us to endure the dark, when the satiated smiles vanish and the tears fill valleys.
In The Vale Of Tears flutters on the winds of rejuvenation. Everything flows together; the music is a fountain, gushing clear, clean waters of radiant optimism and liberty. At points, the ambient breeze feels tropical in tonality; the cute, chirpy birdsong instills an even deeper sense of peace, respite and renewal. “As You Smiled And Passed Me By” still returns to a disappearance, a period when you fell in love, and love retreated. She is here now, haunting the backstreets of melancholic thoughts. The music always returns to healthy gardens, a sanctuary for lost valentines injured on battlefields. The music doesn’t think twice about the past. She can forgive it, but she also knows she will never forget it. Bluhm take the unsteady, brave steps forward, and instead of ruminating over love’s existence, they have chosen to believe.
In The Vale Of Tears is both lucid and absorbing. The music doesn’t so much wash over you as it does soak your skin with some lush ambient imagery. In The Vale Of Tears is romantic music that returns once again to the optimistic promise of life, love and the chance for renewal; for hope, when you thought it had faded, lit by the fire of love, lit by a new dawn. (James Catchpole)