moL ~ Principle of Hope

Can reading about hope, and listening to music about hope, make one feel more hopeful?  Principle of Hope is the brainchild of Lorenz Weber, who asked twelve artists to record a track – one for each month – and to pen a few words.  The results are compiled in the form of a booklet and CD, although a digital copy (sans words) is also available.

While listening to Wodwo‘s opener, “The loose steps of sun,” one is already considering how hope might be communicated through ambient music. The tone is calm and relaxing, but is it hopeful?  As the volume rises and the major chords begin to swell, one catches on: hope and peace are often intertwined. The artist writes of floating on one’s back, watching the clouds: the first of many to mention nature as restoration.

Henrik Meierkord makes a connection to current events, writing about the sun shining through the window during “the terrible war,” the birds a harbinger of spring and peace.  On “Fred I Vår,” the violin reflects both concern and emotional response.  The next track begins with birdsong, a wise choice of sequencing.  “In the Everyday” is The Pull of the Past‘s invitation to find hope in ordinary things.  In solidarity, Justin Eberhart, writes of using the past as well as the future to nurture hope, gaining not only consolation but strength from nostalgia.

In this music, hope is usually quiet.  While this is a typical choice of ambient artists, it is also a metaphor.  These composers write of the power of little things to spark encouragement, while piano keys and soft loops establish a fragile foundation.  On the tenth track, Susan Geaney raises the volume with field recordings and insistent drone, listing “pain” along with “possibility” in her litany.  She also lists “imagination,” the initial spark for the compilation.  As others were feeling hopeless, Weber was inspired to share words and sounds of hope.  Art can indeed inspire hope, and Principle of Hope is a perfect example of hope in action.  (Richard Allen)

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