Four years have passed since Glass Canyon, yet Date Palms/darwinsbitch veteran Marielle V Jakobsons hasn’t lost a step; on Star Core, she makes a calm yet triumphant return. The album is soothing, meditative, psychedelic and transportive. The occasional addition of voice hearkens back to the shoegaze era and makes the music sound like a lost 4AD recording, while the violin – especially on the title track and “Rising Light” – recalls George Harrison’s work with The Beatles.
Each of these comparisons underlines the transcendent nature of Jakobsons’ sound; even Thrill Jockey calls her tracks “devotional hymns”. She’s not looking to score singles, but instead is content to allow tracks to unfold at their own pace. The planet is constantly spinning, but Jakobsons wants to slow things down. Her primary weapon is the “elongated bass”, which comes across as a series of unrushed tones. Patient listeners are rewarded as new elements appear deep into these pieces. “Star Core” is instrumental for the first five minutes and vocal for the last two, and the “hey-ya”s are the antithesis of Outkast. Why hurry if the journey is the destination?
This being said, the listening experience still passes quickly. At a compact 37:20, these six songs share their message, then step aside. Because the synthesizer and flute are so subtle, they promote back-to-back plays for those who have the time. But that’s not the point. As an audiovisual artist, Jakobsons writes, “My art is all about heightening our experience of place around and within us, and creating immersive environments with sound and light.” In short, the current moment is more important than the next. Nine-minute closer “The Sinking of the Sky” provides the album’s loveliest notes, and would remind many of a sunset, even without the title. Like a sunset, the track sounds subtly different in increments, and cannot be comprehended in a single glance. Hues change, purple to pink, orange to red, without an identifiable midpoint. At a certain point, the viewer – and in this case, the listener – understands that it’s over. And yet, for one lost in the moment, the final reaction is not mourning, but gratitude. (Richard Allen)