Posts Tagged ‘Waxing Moon’

Constellation Records – 21st February 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

The moon has possessed a mystical power as long as it has a physical one, the pull of the tides and the regularity of the lunar months forces mankind has never and will never assert control over. The waxing moon, when the moon is growing larger in the sky, is considered by some to be a phase of new beginnings. But new beginnings are equally the reverse aspect of endings: if the moon shows us anything, it’s that everything is cyclical. Time is not linear, and linearity is but a construct that facilitates an accessible narrative.

Rebecca Foon’s Waxing Moon is an album that shimmers and glows an ethereal hue: enigmatic, mysterious, and conjuring a sense of otherness, it’s possessed of a magic that’s difficult to pinpoint.

Rebecca Foon is the composer and musician behind Saltland and Esmerine, as well as having enjoyed a lengthy spell with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. She’s best known for her cello work, but it’s her skills as a pianist and singer that are placed to the fore on Waxing Moon. For Waxing Moon, she’s joined by an impressive array of contributors, including Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire) and Mishka Stein (Patrick Watson) on acoustic and electric basses, Sophie Trudeau (Godspeed You Black Emperor) on violin, Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes) on electric guitar, and Patrick Watson as co-vocalist on ‘Vessels’.

But understatement is the key here, and the composition very much favour the sparse, low-key and minimal, demonstrating with aplomb the truth of the adage ‘less is more’. Instead of pushing the sound outward, she focuses in and goes deep into the heart of the feelings of each song.

The instrumental ‘New World’ get the album off to an affecting start, and sometimes in a world full of ceaseless noise and endless words babbled without thought, it’s easy to forget just how strongly simple notes played softly can be so richly imbued with emotion that they cam be more moving than any lyrical articulations.

When Foon sings, it’s in breathy, low tones, a sultry croon, as on ‘Pour’, which, with its brooding piano, subtly layered harmonies and haunting guitar, or the ominous, string-led ‘Another Realm’, it calls to mind some of Jarboe’s most evocative work. There’s something vaguely Leonard Cohen that goes beyond vague evocations of ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ in the deep melancholy splendour of ‘Ocean Song’, while there’s something of a folksy feel to ‘Dreams to be Born.’ It’s semi-sad, entirely captivating.

The instrumentation and mood are focused on low-key, low tempo, for the most part exploring subtle shifts and microcosmic variations, although landing around the middle of the album, ‘Wide Open Eyes’ steps up both tempo and key to venture into folk-infused indie territory driven by an insistent rhythm and repetitive motif to hypnotic effect.

Waxing Moon is subtle, and has a slow pull that’s almost subliminal. It’s this soft-focus partial abstraction that renders the album so powerful: it’s by no means direct, but nevertheless conveys a deep underlying strength.

AA

cover Rebecca Foon - Waxing Moon