Ecovillage ~ Hold My Hand

After six albums, Emil Holmstrom and Peter Wikstrom (Ecovillage) feel that they have finally achieved the sound they have always sought.  “In some sense,” they write, “it’s our first (album).”  A trip around Southeast Asia was incredibly inspiring, as reflected in the cover art by Hollie Chastain.

This new sound takes a short while to recognize, as the album opener begins with gentle guitar and birdsong, not making much effort to distinguish itself.  But over the course of this set, numerous guests add flavors to the mix, touching the border of modern composition.  The piano and strings of the title track are the first indication of calculated comfort; the phrase hold my hand is used to protect or endear.

The timbres deepen with additional cello in “Heaven in Your Eyes,” the piano still present, along with a feeling that nothing will harm the listener.  “Fields” raises the volume and continues the daydream. Then Kryshe’s trumpet sends the project to a higher level on “Sacrificial Love,” melding organic and electronic, real and imagined, secular and spiritual.  Occasional light chimes provide the Asian tone that links sound with setting and feeling.  In “Novus Lux,” the album comes to life with clear stereo separations and the chirping of crickets.  After this, deep peace settles in like fog, washing over the listener.  The repetition of chimes is akin to a personal temple.

When the harp appears on the closing track, one cannot help but make the connection to angels.  In their final moments on earth, many choose to hold hands.  The title “Sometimes I Hear Your Voice” implies the possibility of a life beyond this one, overflowing with peace.  If we’re particularly blessed, the excess peace seeps into our world.  Ecovillage implies that we need not fear death, that even if we “never said goodbye,” our loved ones now know our hearts, and our regrets.  (Richard Allen)

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