From The Mouth Of The Sun: Into The Well
Operating under the From The Mouth Of The Sun name, Dag Rosenqvist and Aaron Martin follow their 2012 collaboration Woven Tide with the equally satisfying Into The Well. The two are familiar names in this neck o' the woods, with work by the Gothenburg, Sweden-based Rosenqvist having appeared on labels such as Miasmah, Under The Spire, Lowpoint, and Rural Colors and recordings by the Topeka, Kansas resident Martin showing up on Preservation, Experimedia, Type, and Sonic Meditations, among others. Though the latter's main instrument is cello and Rosenqvist's guitar, the two are credited on the new recording with a plenitude of additional instruments, including bass, piano, synthesizers, pump organ, voice, singing bowls, banjo, lap steel, glockenspiel, and field recordings, and on the title track vocalists Dawn Smithson and Jerker Lund, trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, and French horn player Jenny Olsson also appear.
The album's interestingly structured, seeing as how six of the pieces, ranging from two to six minutes, are relatively brief whereas one, the aforesaid title track, pushes past eleven. That makes for an effective mix, with the shorter settings acting as mini-symphonies that make their case with dispatch and the longer one affording the duo an opportunity to craft a long-form composition. Don't think, however, that the others are any less artful for being shorter, as they thoroughly impress when Rosenqvist and Martin shape the tracks' elements into entrancing, oft-plaintive wholes of striking beauty. In no more than five minutes, “Bodies in Fog” augments a simple glockenspiel motif with layers of strings and guitars in such a way that's nothing less than soul-stirring, and with banjo, cello, and other sounds woven into a multi-hued shawl, “Braid & Tomb” radiates like some awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.
Into The Well offers an abundantly rich listening experience, but if there's a single instrument that stands out, it's Martin's cello, which repeatedly elevates the material by amplifying its emotional dimension. While synthesizers form part of the duo's sonic arsenal, the recording presents a largely acoustic sound, never more so than when the arrangements for “Path for Blood” and “Walking Behind Glass” largely consist of piano, strings, and pump organ only.As compelling as the shorter settings are, it's the title track that makes the strongest argument for the group project. Opening quietly, “Into the Well,” abetted by the presence of Smithson and Lund, slowly blossoms from its supplicating beginnings into a somewhat phantasmagoric force-field of lachrymose strings, hushed vocal expressions, and horns. The title might imply downward movement, but the trajectory of the track—literally and figuratively—is characterized by ascension. There's an at times shamanistic quality to this superb album's material that makes the duo seem like alchemists operating out of some remote cabin and who through their toils bring wondrous music into being.