You stare at a large painting depicting a pastoral scene. The vivid colors capture your senses with astonishing realism. You smell the pungent grass that the animals consume. You hear the babbling stream that rushes through the lush field. You feel the sunlight that beams down and warms all that exist below it. The paint appears to fly right off the canvas. A thunderous BOOM shakes your surroundings, and the paint does fly, surrounds you, transports you . . .
The potential for disparate musical elements to mix harmoniously never ceases to amaze me. Oftentimes, the result doesn’t always turn out so elegantly (I think we all remember Lou Reed’s short-lived soiree with Metallica on Lulu), but it can also be the saving grace for well-deserved artists that require only a tinge of flair. Wabi-Sabi is the newest full-length from husband-and-wife duo Cross Record, joined by Thor Harris.
Singer Emily Cross and multi-instrumentalist/producer Dan Duszynski revel in dreamy, folk-tinged songwriting on this record, accompanied by a women’s choir that expands the depth of the lush compositions. The wild card here is the tasteful addition of Swans drummer Thor Harris, who incorporates marimba, kalimba, and other percussive tools with stunning results. These songs are refreshing, entrancing, organic, and powerful.
The remote locale where the group recorded these songs (Dripping Springs, Texas) played a large part by influencing the quieter, more desolate-sounding moments of Wabi-Sabi, a title that roughly translates to “the acceptance of imperfection” in Japanese. There are tons of components that could be deemed “imperfect,” but they all mesh to form the contrary. If you’re seeking powerful, experimental folk, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)