Review of Deborah Martin & Jill Haley’s New Album: The Silence of Grace
Music has always been about movement and the play between sound and silence, but ‘The Silence of Grace’ lets you taste the bliss of inertia…a binding force gradually bringing all your agitations down and making you plunge in the volume of this sonic medium as you go deeper and deeper within you. This is the raw power of ambient music at its best–a native and natural expression of everything that is around us. How brilliant is the name of the album, I can’t describe! It is so peaceful and serene that whatever I say would be an injustice to its beauty–the silence says it all.
The album is a collaboration between ambient electronic artist Deborah Martin, providing a canvas rich with the choicest of moods and their effects, and Jill Haley, who paints and weaves the emotions with Oboe and English Horn. With my closed eyes, I could feel them roaming in nature and plucking the sounds with bare hands, and finally sitting together to knit these pieces. What joy they must have felt while creating such an impactful collection!
Album Name: The Silence of Grace
Artist (s) Name: Deborah Martin & Jill Haley
Total Time: 49:31
The album has eight songs and each has a story to tell, full of vistas and imagination. The label, Spotted Peccary, has done a wonderful job in bringing these two artists together.
The title song, ‘The Silence of Grace’, opens like a promise and expands to every nook and corner of your heart. I just loved the tempo with which it unfolds, holding the space for the listener to establish the connection. The ambient amalgamation of electronic and oboe sounds creates an ethereal effect. The mixture of English Horn heightens its beauty and makes it more poignant.
“Indian Heaven” introduces multiple sounds of the harp and drums, and soars high. The electronic canvas reminds me of the cooing of doves and pictures such a peaceful background. Interspersed with minimalist splashing sounds, it literally transports you to the heavenly sight of a placid lake.
Step into the verdure of your inner being where your vision feasts on tranquility. The chiming sounds build such an innocent atmosphere that the child in you can not but rejoice. “Verdant Sanctuary” is a playground where you engage in playful sport aka dance!
“The Stillness Of Forest Bathing” is picturesquely beautiful and imbibes the spirit of a forest, which is dense yet breathes freshness. The sounds are grand and promising. The ambience of the jungle is mesmerizing and created very effectively.
When you talk about nature, how can you forget to think about “Fountains”–the effervescence and the spurt are the harbinger of hope and new. The plaintive mood of the oboe and the English Horn is very unique in this context–the coagulation often obstructs the flow, yet trust marches forth.
And thus, we come to the shortest piece on the album: “Earth Stone Water Sky”. The bells are very distinctly used to enhance the spiritual quotient of this piece. A very intimate piece, full of power that rises from the silence of these natural elements.
Till now, the element of energy in its raging form was missing, but worry not–it is not missed. “From Fire Into Water” gives you the thrust with its singular rhythm and pace. Its special soundscape takes you right in the middle of a fire ceremony of the aboriginal tribes, before midway, you behold the beauty of the water, which puts everything to rest and invites you to travel with it. The angelic vocal-like calls truly stand out in the latter half of the song.
“Water Flows Of Clouds And Thunder” is a brilliant piece capturing the essence of the clouds and the fluid dynamics therein. The awe-invoking phenomenon of gases, liquid, and electricity is an inspiration and a reminder that greater forces are at play in our universe. The serene layers of the wind instruments with the playfulness of the keyboards create a dramatically beautiful scene in the mind. Definitely, my favorite from the whole collection–it also is the longest piece.
It is surprising to know that this is the first-ever collaboration between Deborah and Jill–the way they have captured and nurtured each other’s vision is so satisfying. It feels like two unknown travelers on the road met and realized they carry the same feel and response to the journey they have covered…what beauty lies in this automatic fusion of music that happens so effortlessly!
Listeners will not be satiated–the album is bound to receive demands of more such collaborations from them! I am, indeed, one among them!
|The Silence Of Grace||06:55|
|The Stillness Of Forest Bathing||06:20|
|Earth Stone Water Sky||04:06|
|From Fire Into Water||06:37|
|Water Flows Of Clouds And Thunder||07:33|