You walk between colossal trees within a vast forest. Streams of light cut through leafy canopies and brighten your path. You’ve heard legends about this place, about ghosts inhabiting it and telling their stories of the past, both soaring tales of passion and crushing laments of sorrow, to those that will listen; and you will listen. You are alone, but you feel the weight of many eyes upon you. A breeze floats through the trees, carrying melodic sound . . .
Handling the beauty contained on this record is quite a task. nūmūn is the second full-length release from Johanna Warren, a stunningly adept songwriter with the voice of a seraph. When not crafting masterful folk gems, Warren also embraces a second profession as an energy healer, and the influence of that trade is permeated throughout all of these songs. This is music that entrances the mind and cleanses the soul.
The melodies that Warren conceives of by weaving her looping guitar and angelic voice are elaborate, sublime, and most of all, catchy. She may only repeat a single motif once or twice during the course of a labyrinthine song, but one finds oneself humming those few notes at the end of each track regardless of the experimental complexity surrounding those precious tones. Worshippers of Joni Mitchell, this one’s for you.
Though the lyrical content encompasses the profound, often painful questions concerning death, the pristine instrumentation is teeming with life. Subtle percussion, woodwinds, and harmonic voices cradle the artist as she processes inner turmoil and the fragility of life. It’s certainly not painless, but it is gorgeous, and it’s one of my favorite albums of the year. If you’re seeking intricate, timeless folk music, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)