Review Summary: We call heaven and its light, to retune our strings, to bring beauty to our dissonance.
Is the way you see and hear beauty the same way in which I see and hear it" If not, how can we ever possibly hope to arrive at something close to the same definition of beauty as one another" You might find it in a delicate fragment of a lyric you somehow relate to; a vitriolic, ***-the-system punk spirit; an absolutely shredding
solo; or one of those moments in music when all the elements slot together and make that perfect harmony. I'm not going to even try and answer those questions here, but I will say this: if there were ever anything approaching a universal definition for harmonious, or beautiful, it might just be somewhere inside Sun & Moon
You may know Timbre as the harpist who's been making the rounds in guest appearances over the last decade or so, getting a credit alongside lofty names like Jack White, The Chariot and (best of all) mewithoutYou. There is nothing in common stylistically, though thematically there is an echo of Weiss' spiritualistic voyeurism here, with the visceral emotions removed and replaced by a deep, full contentment. Sun & Moon
is music for the end of a journey, for the rising sun, for knowing that you are exactly where you were always meant to be.
The quiet hum and ragged delivery of "The Persistence of First Love" strongly recalls Post
-era Bjork, whilst longer epics like "St. Cecilia" make good use of Timbre's considerable skill with the harp and classical music background to create a mystical fog that's like being in Rivendell, the White Lodge and freakin' Narnia all at the same time. There is an operatic feel to the vocals in songs like "Morning Birds" and "Sunset" - enhanced by the heavenly choir on "St. Cecilia" - which reflect her interest in mirroring classical music with the contemporary. You'd be forgiven for thinking at points that the angels were ushering you into the afterlife with feathery wings, glistening harps and pre-made spaghetti.
But the sun goes down, and the moon has a dark side, and so accordingly there are two contrasting but complementary sides here. In keeping with the Sun and Moon theme, the two sides of the album (the second beginning fittingly with "Sunset" as the first began with "Sunrise") mirror one another. Moon is hushed, tranquil, and sticks more to conventional song structures: Sun is expansive, grand and much more free-flowing. If you're struggling with making it through the whole work in one go, think of them as two sister albums, sun and moon, yin and yang; the Amnesiac
to each other's Kid A
So yes, more than eighty minutes of someone singing with a harp and some other pretty instruments might seem like a slog. But look a little closer, look at the sheer detail, the recurring motifs, the thematic cohesion. Listen to that goddamn moment at the end of "Chicago Pier" where, like I said earlier, every element of the music just comes together and it just flows
, man, like six different streams creating a river, or six different flavours creating a delicious smoothie. Moments like this are what it's all about, the rush and swell, glorious transformations: that feeling of coming close to what might just, in the end, be real beauty.