On the one hand, fans have come to expect the Mystery Sea label to delve into ocean-based electronics and field recordings on every release. On the other, the label has come to offer sound as a sea of mystery, which has never been more apparent than on its latest release. Ubeboet does use watery sounds, both natural and synthesized, but the defining aspect of haereo (to adhere, cleave, hold fast) is its sense of immersion.
The cries of nearby birds and tolling of distant bells in “Eaden” offers a reflection of its subject, but when the soundscape is invaded by traffic, sirens, and a series of subterranean rumbles, one remembers the incursion of sin (which one might argue was already present) and Adam and Eve’s subsequent eviction from the Garden. In terms of this piece, the artist (Miguel Angel Tolosa) is ironically named. An angel will guard the Garden, but alone: protecting one aspect of creation from another. It’s easy to draw comparisons to the aural work, in that Tolosa lowers the volume of the intruding elements, allowing them to be integrated into the soundscape. Nature and industry are intertwined like salvation and sin.
Dark and light continue to advance as the album progresses. Ingar Zach’s singing bowls cast an inner light on “Umbrae” (the darkest part of a shadow), gracing the piece with a spiritual sheen; but by the end of “Sanatorium Rose”, such shards of illumination are drenched in dark drones. These opposing forces are locked in battle, yin and yang, yet are unable to disengage; they cling, they penetrate, they invade. As the sound of birds is replaced by that of skittering, unidentifiable objects, one remembers that we still live in the age of eviction, subject to dark forces. Ubeboet’s bold initiative is to shroud the sounds of the benign with those of the malignant, implying an eclipse of goodness; but every eclipse eventually passes, and the Garden, as distant as it may seem, is still as close to each human as a final breath. (Richard Allen)