So much of what falls under the category of “world music” is often focused on one or two cultures, and in its wanderlust reveals something beyond human nature’s tendency to draw borders around itself. Throughout annual growth rings, the fertile collaboration between Mats Edén (playing violin and viola d’amore) and sound artist Stefan Klaverdal, we search not far and wide for metaphysical connections, but rather dive inward to articulate commonalities between all matter—living and nonliving—at the molecular level. Although the sounds come mostly from Edén’s strings, processed live by Klaverdal, the resulting assemblage is as organic in feel as each track title is in image.
The rich ambience of “deep under the bark” turns over a log in a forest and records the life teeming beneath to heal the interruption of its symphony. Amid warped strings and metallic scrapings, biological materials float in an ooze of unwavering time. The musical palindrome of “among opening leaves” hums at its center, yielding a texture of love, a vibration of harmony, and an echo of hope. Subsequent stages of this ecosystem burgeon with sensual glow, singing through “growing branches” and “among the blossoms” in a profusion of evolutionary notecraft. And in “following the roots,” discernible rhythms at last reveal a lost history made manifest by the recovery of erosion, worming through the soil in search of one another.
Lastly, we enter into a seasonal requiem, as the autumnal excursion of “abscission (falling of leaves)” guides us through crushed fragrance. A hurdy gurdy dreaming of itself, it offers the album’s most welcoming beauties, while “mourning a fallen tree” continues its vigil in cleaner bowing. Like a folksong heard as if from a distance, only to anoint us as its genetic inheritors, it opens the way to “growth of new plants,” wherein mercies and spirits of regeneration remind us that things grow and decay only so that other things may grow and decay.
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