Review Summary: Chests, pearls, fishes, corals and stuff
Sound and vision aren’t that different at the very end. Conjunction of sounds and images has always been a way of interpreting the world. Ambient music starts off when the scenery fades, with a will to rebuild a landscape by sonic recreation. Avant Garde poet/composer Harold Budd teams up with ambient pioneer Brian Eno, and prominent producer Daniel Lanois, for the creation of The Pearl
. Never again the bottom of the sea sounded so vivid and serene than on this album, on which the collaboration of the three aforementioned musicians delivers a record of unbearable beauty.
Any technical analysis of how the album manages to attain its magnificence is doomed to fall sort in terms of adequacy. The pearl is an album that needs an aesthetic approach of the listener, rather than dedication or time for its appreciation. You can still listen to it while reading or before bedtime and will still be relaxing. However, with a careful listen, the album truly unravels its dreamlike effects.
Everything that’s happening here is serene and quiet. It never gets dramatic or exaggerated. Eno’s blithely opaque soundscapes dress the scenery with patience, while Budd’s piano notes softly fall upon the passing seconds. The album's flowing within the listener, giving him the sense that he/she experiences a journey from the azure, light-transparent waters of the upper sea level (Late October
), to the deep blue depths where everything seems mysterious and uncanny(Dark Eyed Sister
). While the atmosphere is haunting, never anything gets hostile, and an undertone of calmness is always present. Budd’s poetic references are also present, although there are no lyrics to be found. The bottom of the sea has often be used by surrealist poets as a place where memories sleep and the unconscious is approachable. (Their Memories
). Each note can be translated as an underwater movement, and each pause as a rest for admiration of the beauty that eventually peaks at “Still Return”, the record’s final moment.
Despite of its’ common use for background music, as any good ambient album has, The Pearl
is able to create a world on its own. Maybe many oceanic documentaries will come to mind, and sea creatures will parade before you eyes, who knows? The only thing that’s sure is that if the ocean depths need a soundtrack, then definitely you’ll have an answer. When the lights are off, we thankfully have The Pearl