Moon Ate the Dark II

Moon Ate The Dark capture and distill the purity of piano music, the soft-kissed romanticism and the eternal mystery that surrounds its nocturnal light. The nocturne itself is a dedication to the night and its embrace, and the piano’s darker, placid tone is a perfect fit. The notes skip over the surface of a tranquil lake – that is, until the electronics come into sight. They start to scuttle and clatter around, but they’re never intrusive. The subtle electronics skim over the piano’s tender melodies. Anna Rose Carter and Christopher Brett Bailey are the perfect duo, playing to each other’s strengths and enhancing the music as a result.

‘If Vanishing’ is sprightly, but the piano slowly morphs. An electronic drone hovers just ahead, but it doesn’t completely extinguish the beautifully soft skin of the piano. Carter’s tone has been dulled and muddied to reflect a thousand pools of dimly-lit water. The hardened, uneven surface of the moon shines upon them from above, and soft pattering rhythms create their own ripples across the still and sleepy music. At this hour, you wouldn’t want to wake anyone up. The notes swim in their own delay, and the closed, throbbing rhythms flutter like a steady heartbeat. It’s a real collaboration, not only because they truly complement one another, but because they’re able to switch it up without interfering with or breaking up the flow of the music. Each track has a regular, smooth dissection and divide; two different sides of the same coin.

The music remains soft and yet dynamic; the piano’s short, staccato stabs are cushioned by the light drones and the splashes of reverb that trail off into the distance. The repeated notes of ‘Ventricles’ dart back and forth, and the electronics, instead of just acting as a layer, really help the track to inflate and expand – it’s hard to imagine one without the other. One can work without the other, but it would be a pale and bare record, like a cherry tree stripped of its blossom. Her highly advanced technique is used solely for the benefit of the music; to take it beyond, to reach further. The flourishing, melodic passages have an experimental side, too. Sometimes, they seem to be in the midst of a dramatic episode. A sense of anxiety and nervous tension shatters the splintering serenity of the night, and in an almost schizophrenic passage the music climbs and climbs, desperate to find a way out (‘Verse Porous Verse’). The dissonant wolves threaten to devour the music’s melodic heart, but it’s soon vanquished. The cool cello of ‘Sleepy Vipers’ is up next, and it aims straight for the jugular. The mood and the tone are different, but the track’s still intense. It’s a wrecking piece of music that will stay with you; in the silence, the cello can still be heard. Banishing the shadows, the beautiful progression lights up, and the electronic fireflies glitter and glow in the dark. They leave behind little melodic phantoms that hover in the black of the night, like a sparkler’s embers in the chill of early November.

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