David Colohan

Hill Of The Moon

Hill Of The Moon slowly rises, and as it reaches the tip of its crest an open landscape is revealed. Ripe fields sit sleepily in a corner of kind-looking countryside, the soil is incredibly fertile and fresh and the dull bronze of the sunshine hangs steadily overhead. In the same way that a clasp of light shines onto a stained glass window inside the magnificence of an old, grand church, the music slowly pours through, gradually adding layers and layers as the years pass, restoring and thickening its elderly textures when it begins to show its age.

Hypnotic, almost reverential tones put the music beside the religious, and while it is a devotional of sorts, it’s aimed more at the land itself (in this case, Ireland) than towards any particular deity. The tone herself is extremely heavy, bowing down as a result of pressure instead of an act of worship, surrender or selflessness. Instead, she presses hard, hands clasped in prayer. The music may love the outdoors, but a noticeably stuffy feel permeates the music. The music’s weight can turn fresh air into stale air. In the same way, when religion falls into the wrong hands it can turn peace into a perverted poison. Notes are doubled and held for lengthy spells, punctured by the pursuing omen of leaden, congealing clouds that put an end to the gentle light seeping through the window.

Hill Of The Moon rests in ambient arms, though. It recalls a period long, long ago. The atmosphere has somehow wrenched itself out of the stone, rustling around the grass as something centuries old = mysterious and magical music. It is almost primeval, or at least Neolithic. Lingering like fog, the music slowly swirls. Stuck on the cleft of the hill, ‘Pinnacles’ gazes down on a beloved countryside seemingly removed from the advances of time. It looks much the same as it did one hundred years ago. The slow, sweeping movement of ‘The Ritual Landscape’ and its deep, meditative pauses help to slow everything down, illuminating the music with a contemplative, cool atmosphere. The music smooths out the jarring indentations of the rock with a round, well-shaped sound. And there’s something of nature herself embedded here. The music is a part of the earth, of rock and soil, its soul stuck like a mosquito clad in amber, millions of years old and yet perfectly preserved. It’s as old as the wind, as old as a line of gnarled trees. It isn’t simplistic, though.

Rocks fall, ravens circle. The air absorbs the stark cry. Black feathers flutter against the side of the music, casting shadows as they block the light. As the music progresses, the stars start to shine. The sky is clear, and there isn’t any air pollution. This only adds to the majesty on display. On Tape 2, a chorus ascends to the heavens. The voices are calling out, joining the earlier birds in their song to the sky. At this point, the restricted visibility that the fog left behind disappears, and the music enjoys a lot more freedom. This is evident from the twenty minute length of ‘Fourth Divination (Above The Radiant Lake)’. The sun glitters over the water, illuminating endless ripples and soft, slow motion splashes as it passes overhead.

Incidentally, Hill Of The Moon’s recording was completed during the Blood Moon Eclipse of September 2015.


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