Waters washed in melatonin can, in an instant, whip up unforgiving and violent tides, birthing nightmares from seemingly calm waves. The sea must be respected. Carelessness can be fatal.
Seafaring drizzles its serene music over all four seasons and is itself deeply respectful music, a sweet song arriving on the air like a coastal breeze, blown by a sublime sisterhood of sirens. Last Days (Graham Richardson) explores the pearl-grey, illimitable body of water, looking out at another world adrift from our own, both a gateway and an entire industry. Shipping containers and sailors, ferries and fishermen, captains and pirates, private boats and oil rigs, cruise ships and military vessels; the sea is home to them all and more besides.
Virgin explorations give life to the thrill of discovery, while uncharted waters can become ill-fated expeditions that quickly fall by the wayside, a heroic, indefatigable thirst for exploration shining through a bleak tragedy – Sir Ernest Shackleton’s doomed 1915 voyage on the Endurance during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration being one of them. Titanic cliffs become dusty specks of receding white. Don’t worry, life jackets are included.
Reverb-heavy “Whitecaps” stands tall at the edge of the world before forever fading into the gentle, three-note motif of “Fading Shore”. The strings are solid, tied to something like a harbor, but they merge with the floating, off-shore ambient sounds of the outgoing tide, too. The “Straits of Dover” are interspersed with a soft smudge of sadness as the horizon of home disappears behind a teary piano. Seafaring mixes the gut-wrenching feeling of heartache with a wonderful, uplifting sense of adventure, of bright eyes opening wide in amazement. The music is progressive in that it looks beyond its own backyard, marveling at beautiful and sometimes exotic things, a thousand fresh faces and a hundred undiscovered languages, a foreign vessel passing through unfamiliar waters.
Oceans can connect and divide; families that were once broken are reunited after a ship’s crossing. Like a late ray of sunshine pouring onto a pool of grey water, the tones glint sharply with a concentrated burst of clarity. Later on, the notes appear to shrivel up completely. Their tone has disintegrated, as if munched at by sharks and gnawed on by crabs in the deepest parts of the ocean. Tired strings yawn widely as the music crawls towards its shoreline, and all of the elements come together on the finale, shining as brightly as a pair of opal eyes. (James Catchpole)