Review Summary: Mourning, as a form of catharsis.
As an emotional outlet, dealing with death, both conceptually and physically, many folks tend to prefer using hideouts to get over it: Call it alcoholic poisoning, call it denying it altogether. Call it medication, or call it traveling to the end of the world to avoid the thought of it. Call it abandoning the house in which the deceased and the person in question shared a good amount of their time. Call it selling the car they shared for years. As human beings, we find ignoring everything much less damaging (on the short run, anyway) than facing death, as what it is: Another phase in human development.
Esmerine, as many of the spawns from Godspeed You! Black Emperor
, depends on odd instrumentation and grandiose composition (like its founding project) to create an emotional bonding with the listener. 2005 release Aurora exudes dramatic melancholy on every corner. Call it the effect of string sections, granted, regardless, the mix and the dynamics utilized through Aurora would be an obvious choice of use for an album dedicated to the death of Lhasa de Sela, an american singer/songwriter who developed musically in Canada but with heavy mexican and american influences in her style (Being raised in both countries in her youth).
, unlike other albums like The Antlers
' "Hospice" or Kayo Dot
's "Coyote", does not recur to grief and sadness, and bleak scenery to deal with Lhasa's death: The ambient created all through La Lechuza
is that of peaceful, rich, and blissful walk from life. Only the last few tracks feel "dramatic", but even then, it forms in the end an interesting approach to mourning the death of a loved one, not as an incredibly destroying experience, but as the natural succession it truly should be in our collective minds. With soothing vocals from Sarah Page in Last Waltz
and Snow Day for Lhasa
, there is never a hint of self-destructive mourning. On the contrary, it sounds what it would be in the aftermath of a funeral: Going back to everyday, missing those who have left, but in the end, recognizing it and letting go, as those who are no longer with us would like us to do.
It is, regardless, an impressively mature point of view on death and mourning, considering Lhasa's young age and cause of death (breast cancer), due to the shock of the event itself being difficult to bear, leaving questions on divine justice and other larger-than-life premises: Why her? Why now? Why like this? What is the point?
None of that is answered. What we have left is an homage to Lhasa, the best way cowards can demonstrate : With the radiant tones of A Dog River
, the grandiosity in Little Streams Make Big Rivers
, Au Crépuscule, Sans Laisse
, and the heart-melting voice of Lhasa in Fish on Land
, Esmerine show us what it is like to lose and love, but not letting that crush our hearts with pointless mourning, but getting the best out the situation to grow and understand life better.