The latest release from Ben Link Collins’ Silent Media label is another physical marvel. (The last one we reviewed was Pacific 231’s Micromega.) The snug black box contains 8 cloud images from Meire Todão, 7 poems from Derek Piotr and a CD of songs from Piotr and Mikah Meyer. Piotr proposed the project when he realized that Meyer had a knack for imitating weather systems with his voice. Already predisposed to nature themes, Piotr scoured his journals for weather-related poems and contacted his regular collaborator Todão for the images. In effect, they created a box of weather. Everybody talks about the weather, but these three actually did something about it.
These songs are not the poems, although they are related. “Rain Rhythm” begins with static and organ before the vocals enter, imitating the sound of a storm’s first drops. dmm, dmm, dmm-dmm. A higher-pitched cry enters like the wind. Would the listener think of rain without the prompts? The answer is unclear, but seems likely. Meyer’s countertenor is featured more prominently in “Snow Drifts”, echoed like cries across a barren white field. The clarity of the vocals is pristine, and their interplay creates a strange harmony: less direct than complimentary.
In the first extended piece, “Sun Spots”, the dmm of the first track and the melody of the second are repeated, set against a sparse electronic backdrop. Percussive rustles converse with organ tones. As The Weather Channel is fond of saying, “the weather is always changing”. At the same time, the weather is comprised of the same components. Weather Patterns celebrates not only the static, but the flow. It’s a short album – less than 28 minutes – but compact rather than truncated, inviting one to take in the album as a whole. The tracks migrate and collide in imitation of their subject matter, leading to a second half whose titles imply a more serious transition: “Climate Change”, “Coastal Decline”, “Glacial Melt”. It’s a reminder that when we talk about the weather today, we don’t just talk about the weather of today; we fear for the changes wrought by humanity. Of course, one need not consider such weighty subjects in order to enjoy the album. One may peruse the photographs, read the poems, and allow the ethereal vocals to gather and break, like the components of a shifting sky. (Richard Allen)