The World Unseen

The delayed glow of a late summer’s light and its piercing, beatific atmosphere surrounds the music of Mamiffer (Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner). Sublime incantations, powerful, sweeping movements and slow hymns cycle in and around a contained vacuum of sound, its choral music left in a dusty, unclean state with its soot-tinted touch of decaying beauty. The sung passages are a slice of heaven, but the music is more like Paradise Lost. Rougher static prickles against the skin, and the lines that separate the living from the dead get thinner and thinner as The World Unseen progresses; a supernatural occurrence waits on the other side, one that only those who have passed over can see. The atmosphere enveloping the music is despondent, crestfallen and perhaps inevitable as it stands dressed in black at the tombstone of one so beloved.

The music decays and darkens in real time as life fades away and the river that leads into death is crossed. The lifeblood oozes out of the body and into crimson pools over which blackened boats, crafted with sharp blades and skeletal thin in their appearance and in their construction, constantly rock from side to side as they slowly travel beyond the veil, from one dimension to the next. Things take somewhat of a left turn, and when the sun sets it gets dark really quickly.

As pinpoint as the thin, sighted accuracy of a laser beam, the light cuts through anything that attempts to block it. The electric guitars are caged in a low tuning, growling close to the ground, juddering and shuddering against the doors of doom and heavy sludge but never quite breaking them down and succumbing to their lower descent. The piano of ‘Mara’ ghosts around them, the emptiness surrounding the music completely. A bruising, harder edge sits on the music’s shoulders, riding with it around a once-pristine prairie on the edge of the badlands. In three parts, ‘Domestication of the Ewe’ forgoes the radiating harmonies and is instead a complete and utter blackout. Its heavy weight becomes an oppressive burden as black as midnight television, its static crawling and seeming to speak from beyond the confines of these old, decrepit walls. The crawling lines and dots are an ancient power, and they become ever more potent during the midnight hour.

As Coloccia says, “the record is imperfect…it has within its heart an incompleteness, a stillness containing the presence of absence and loss.” And through the whispered, gentle singing, that loss hangs there as something eternal, written on the sheet music of a life right until the coda, perpetually dancing between the two extremes of order and chaos, the two uniting forces in dominating control of the universe, where a sudden, seemingly unpredictable shock of a violating act of violence is mingled with the everlasting beauty of this rock we call Earth. It is a bruised beauty. It is The World Unseen.

“If you must have a language, let it be one whose quantity cannot be reduced to a single sound, one that moves without displacing, that describes without being written, that knows the letter and yet is the spirit and has the spirit to be without recourse to visibility, that is made of time and not altered by time, that knows neither childhood or age, neither the tongues or the teeth that gnaw at foreign languages, that gives birth to itself, whose soul is everywhere and nowhere, that is free in its coupling. Air cut out of air… a motive force of infinity… and the world will be music… where birth and death overlap.” – Hélén Cixous

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