Room With a View is a life-affirming album whose impact goes far beyond its theme of climate change. The overall impression is that of humans getting together, pooling their resources, working as one in a positive, imaginative fashion in order to better the world. This approach is apparent in the colorful cover art, which provides images of building, lifting, helping, stretching, reaching, protecting and more. These are the dancers of (LA) HORDE, who exploded with elaborate, exuberant choreography at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet. One can hear them discussing their craft in the sunrise opener, “Lucid Dream,” and shouting obscenities with childlike glee in “Babel,” a track whose title implies the darker side of the cover image. But just as the early video for “Human” inches from underground darkness to muted light, so does this album offer the warm encouragement of human contact ~ something we all crave right now ~ for a higher, greater cause. There is joy in mutual accomplishment, and no matter how alarmed Rone may be at climate change, his every note seems to rally, to caress, to beckon.
We’ve chosen this album for Easter, even for those who don’t celebrate Easter, because it symbolizes the parts of the holy day that everyone can appreciate: all seemed lost, and then it wasn’t; the sky was filled with darkness, then brilliant light; the grave was not the end. “La Marbrerie” teems with colorful timbres, and is followed immediately by the voice of Rone’s child. We practice social distancing so that others may live, especially the elderly and infirm; we address climate change in order to preserve the world for the young. The sacrifices may be different, but they connect in a fashion that rings as clearly as the chimes of “Ginkgo Biloba” and “Nouveau Monde.” Much is dark now: a virus, a planet in peril, a world caught in the grip of cold. But every kind of spring is on its way, some kinds unstoppable and others possible because we make them so. All to often we think of the day when we will dance; Rone invites us to dance now, to celebrate the realm of shared responsibility and possibility.
Some of the “growing” tracks (“Liminal Space” and “Human” in particular) proceed from quietude to activity. The same holds true for our reactions to challenges. At first we may ignore them, until they grow too big to ignore. And then we react. Some react with panic, others with withdrawal, and still others ~ the beautiful ones ~ with action. This redefinition of beauty ~ not what we look like, but what we do ~ lies at the heart of this work. In the finale of “Human,” glorious harmonies rise above a soft cathedral organ. The choir reminds us that we can do this. It’s not too daunting. We are each our brother’s and sister’s keepers, and the stewards of the earth. (Richard Allen)