These original soundscapes – from anthéne, Slow Dancing Society, and orchestramaxfieldparrish – are a tribute to Joni Mitchell. Swallowed by the Sky, textura’s fourth release, is a homage to the singer-songwriter, revealing a deep appreciation for both person and music. Her legacy stretches far beyond any one genre or style, and while these aren’t covers – far from it – they channel her spirit. In some ways, they come closer to the truth of her music, touching meanings and lighting upon atmospheres in a deeper way. Covers can’t replicate that.
While there are plenty of compilations and covers of her songs, there hasn’t been much, if anything, in the way of ambient. Such is her range, she’s inspired artists and musicians from all over the musical spectrum, going way into other stylistic fields and touching all different areas of music. Just as Jeff Stonehouse channelled the spirit of Mexico’s Chavela Vargas with his Listening Mirror release, On The Passing of Chavela, so too do these three ambient musicians dedicate their music to Joni, and in doing so, they evoke something just as deep as her soulful songs.
This sweet, soothing music has a light, feminine touch, singing on the air like a wordless expression of her vocal poetry. Lyrics are huge in popular music, but music is so much more than that, and these instrumentals are able to delicately touch wider borders without the sweet entanglement of vocals. Brad Deschamps, Drew Sullivan, and Mike Fazio are all under her spell, and the music demonstrates a deep admiration and respect.
The pieces also explore the light-and-dark juxtapositions in her songs. Lightness is eclipsed and replaced by a subtle change in mood, the sky becoming overcast and sullen; a changing of the times. The bass is an anchor, and melodies are allowed to blossom: the trio give their pieces sustenance and grounding, and, much like Joni’s songs, they come from a place deep down in the soul, given free roam to flower.