From the Mouth of the Sun: Woven Tide

Yes, it's early in the year, but don't be surprised if Woven Tide, the incandescent debut album by From The Mouth of The Sun, eventually appears on any number of year-end lists when December arrives. This collaborative effort by Gothenburg, Sweden-based Dag Rosenqvist (otherwise known as Jasper TX, though the alias has now been retired) and Topeka, Kansas resident Aaron Martin is about as accomplished and fully realized a debut recording as one might hope to find. Their association began innocently enough when Rosenqvist asked Martin in 2008 to contribute a cello part to “Weight Of Days” on his The Black Sun Transmissions, and further contact eventually grew into the masterful Woven Tide.

In eight settings, ranging in length from one-minute to a dozen, Rosenqvist and Martin drench their strings, guitars, banjos, wordless vocals, and dust-covered pianos in hiss, with the result time-worn melancholy settings that stay with you long after the recording ends. Following the briefest of overtures (“The Crossing”), Woven Tide brings its plaintive world into focus via “Pools of Rust,” an initial high point in its expressions of mournfulness and longing. Here and in the recording's other pieces, the duo's various instrument sounds swell into shimmering, slow-moving pools of heartfelt supplications that are stirring. Their penchant for textural richness is nowhere more evident than on “Color Loss” where Martin's cello appears to push its way through a thick mass of vinyl crackle until it breaks free and expresses its multi-layered lament with nothing holding it back. Initial statements by muffled horns (trombones and French horns) give “Like Shadows in an Empty Cathedral” a stately, even majestic quality that builds to an epic emotional pitch when strings, guitars, and other textures are folded into a sound mix that grows increasingly dense. The penultimate piece,“A Season in Waters,” casts its magical spell patiently, emerging as it does out of mist and growing in power and intensity as it undertakes its slow, twelve-minute ascent.

Without taking anything away from Rosenqvist's contributions to the recording, it's the affecting, open-hearted sound of Martin's cello playing—clearly the album's emotional center and most humanizing element (as heard during, for example, “Sitting in a Roofless Room”)—that recommends Woven Tide most. For Martin, Woven Tide thus constitutes a marvelous Experimedia follow-up to his solo release Worried About The Fire. The fact that the two opted to issue the album under a shared name rather than as, say, Martin & Rosenqvist hints that their commitment to the project might carry on beyond the debut outing; certainly the high quality of the release argues that the two definitely should continue working together under the From The Mouth Of The Sun name.

February 2012