Mirabai Ceiba’s The Quiet Hour (June 11, Spirit Voyage) unites multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Markus Sieber and Angelika Baumbach. The pair have long shared a deep bond, and they’ve been conjuring up a fascinating form of music for a long time – so long that they’ve been described as ‘musical life partners’. Sieber usually takes on guitar duties, but In The Quiet Hour, both are given the chance to shine, the two instruments dancing with one another, creating even more of an entanglement.
Gentle arpeggios act as a backbone, each note an indent in the music’s spine. The other guitar is left to expand and add to the atmosphere, placing more notes on top of the other guitar, and the strong interplay is central to their playful, elegant sound, which reaches all corners of their surroundings like a network of vines. On The Quiet Hour, the duo favour ‘zen simplicity’. Angelika Baumbach’s vocals are a ripe form of poetry, surrounding and supporting the flowering melodies. Fresh-faced and healthy, the vocals are a lush colour, and the guitar is her perfect companion. Drums are absent, and the only rhythms come from a steady stream of notes.
The pandemic has brought more than one plague down upon the nations – one of loneliness and isolation. Those who have experienced it will recognise and know its pain, but there can also be some degree of comfort in a life of solitude. In modern society, solitude is often overlooked as the home of the outcast and the rejected, thought of as a negative thing, but that is actually far from the truth. Although frequently portrayed as a negative, quiet hours – for pausing, for resetting – are beneficial to body and spirit. Solitude can lead to self-discovery, self-growth, reflection and renewal, a faster route for self-improvement and in knowing yourself, as well as developing into an introverted space in which to think and grow. The Quiet Hour is a record of patience and meditation, and it unfurls in perfect time.
On ‘Que Quede Escrito’, Angelika sings of true lovers never being truly apart, no matter where they may be and no matter the distance between them. Separation is never complete or total; distance can stretch but never ultimately conquer true love. Likewise, this love for one another can be felt in their music, as the two guitars serenade and romance one another. Even in its solitude, the music has forged a deep, lasting, and resolute connection. Like the truest of loves, it’s a bond that can never be broken. And it’s easy to fall in love with music as kind and as beautiful as this.