Saariselka – The Ground Our Sky

Photo by Adam Shelton

Saariselka’s debut album ‘The Ground Our Sky’ looks out at a wide horizon and up at the stars, offering a new brand of cosmic, ambient Americana. Saariselka, a team-up between composer Marielle Jakobsons (Fender Rhodes, organ, synthesizers) and Chuck Johnson (pedal steel guitar, electronic treatments), paint a gorgeous landscape of instrumental introspection and contemplation; it brims with light and life.

The Ground Our Sky is inspired by the meeting of earth and light. An old Norse myth says that the great northern glaciers stored energy until they burst with fluorescent light, creating the Aurora Borealis, and Saariselka’s music contains a similar outpouring of light, a radiant, glowing energy bearing fruit of a positive, soothing nature while keeping its eyes on the infinite. Music is a life force, and their music is alive with reverberating Americana and lilting lap-steel. Streaks of light surround the listener, and vocals dissect the air, delivering elemental song.

Standing on earth (the ground) while casting an upwards glance into the cosmos (our sky), Saariselka deliver a spectacular album of high originality and stunning musicianship, blending science with dream, dream with philosophy, and philosophy with human understanding. Sparse electric guitar notes ring into the atmosphere, becoming a part of space, linking and individually lighting up to reveal a melodic constellation. A disembodied voice is cradled in the melody, while the atmosphere slinks and sinks into its surroundings, hovering over the tips of mountains and gracing the cusp of its peaks; a touchpoint between the earth and the air.

The music is a meeting-point, too, a doorway connecting the two worlds, shifting between the grounded realism of the physical plane (and the restrictions posed by gravity), and the limitless potential of discovery which waits in the higher altitudes, even past the troposphere and into the black gulfs of space. Jakobsons co-founded Date Palms, so the startlingly original music on The Ground Our Sky shouldn’t come as a surprise. Mixing instrumental finesse with yummy dream-pop (and splashing it in the arid, windswept hues of Americana), the music is somehow able to reach the stars even while the shoes remain glued to the earth.

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