Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose
[Rating: 3.5 stars]
A beautiful collaboration. Her voice is gentle and open with a little girl quality, like Billie Holiday but without the edge of sorrow. He creates hypnotic soundscapes: swirling audio collages of ethereal chords, backwards and forwards bells and vibes, percussive elements fading in and out and passing by like homes seen from a moving train. Evidently she sang various takes of each piece, composing the lyrics and tunes based on the tracks he devised, and he then cut and pasted her vocals, combining them in interesting patterns. The resulting music resounds quite like Moby in its embrace of sonic collage, but without any trace of his galloping hip-hop rhythms. Most of these have no easily identifiable instruments, but the beautiful “Borealis” emerges from the gentle foundation of two strummed acoustic guitar chords, and ends with an elegiac string section, like dual string quartets playing together in a subway tunnel, the harmonics of the instruments blending as in a dream. “Younger,” which is maybe the most touching of these seven songs, is punctuated by a haunting muted trumpet, and the inclusion of this melodic instrument into the mix is welcome, as one hungers for melody here , and sometimes feels lost among these shifting textures, like hoping to find a piece of gold in a pile of leaves. That gold can be found here, if one is willing to listen.