Review Summary: A superb blend of folk and Grouper drone for endless stories awaiting to be told.
I went for a lone walk on the outskirts of town today. It had been raining for the past weeks, but the clouds were now gone. The parks were drenched, the river was engorged, and the meadow was entirely flooded, made into a surreal lake with trees growing out of the cold waters. I put this album on.
Chapter 1: Fell Sound
From the first few seconds, I was enveloped into a cold yet comforting bed of soft ambient drone. It felt aquatic and muffled, like listening to the world from below the surface. The waters looked so appealing. I heard naiads calling my name. Distant, whispered vocals lamenting sparsely, almost in the background of the hypnotising wall of drone. The depths were calling for me. I strayed away from the path. I wanted to walk into the coldness; to bathe into the world, and to melt into the centre of the meadow. A guitar started to play a few fragile notes, a call from the trees surrounding the flooded lake perhaps. I walked to the centre. The water did not feel cold, even though I knew it was. I wanted to die there, at the infinite interface between waters and skies. Much like the music, the world was harmony; vast, pure, and blurred.
Chapter 2: Silent from Above
In a flash, the ambient foundation to the music disappeared without a goodbye. And with it, a bit of the magic died. Ever so slightly, I emerged from the dream I was in. The branches suddenly felt real; the world was physical again. The singing came back, but this time it sounded all too human. This was a beautiful folk song, but a straightforward one. A tale of sufferings past, long-lost stories, grieving. Or so I imagined. It felt like knowing the words would awake me even more. So I let the feel of the music imprint itself onto its meaning. The voice drenched itself into increasing reverberated lushness, echoing the first chapter of my journey, and the surreal hallucination came to my eyes again, if only for a minute.
Chapter 3: Cliffs
A lone guitar started to sing. It seemed like the branches were talking to me with every strum of the instrument. I laid in the water still, listening with fascination to the conversation between trees and water nymphs murmuring again from down below. It felt like I was invisible, immaterial. A lucky witness of the very primal world, hearing a secret Nature was confiding into me. This lush harmony was brief, but it felt perfect. After a noisy passage, the human folk came again, as if the record was hesitant to persist in its own esoteric magic. A campfire was lit, or so it sounded. Night had fallen onto the meadow. Distant sounds of steel, machines, menaces came about. They reminded me of the town, of the physical world, and dragged me out of the haze. It felt like the journey was about to slip away.
Chapter 4: Drowning the Call
Then suddenly, perfection. My head went below the water, and at once everything was peaceful. The branches and the clouds were blurred out above me, delicately agitated by the whirls and waves at the surface. I drowned happy and complete, as creatures of the water delicately embraced me. Everything was pure, everything was safe. Finally the record had let itself go, and perfectly blended every texture, every sound, every voice. Lullabies were sung to me. I felt loved, protected. Like an infant not born yet, who has never been exposed to the pains of the world. I melted into the lake as the album reached its peak. Its lushest, warmest, softest track. Its greatest song. I wanted it to never end, I wanted the whole record to be like that. But eventually, delicately but with resolve, it went away. And I emerged.
Chapter 5: Mine
I looked around. The world was still there. The starred skyline was reflected perfectly on the surface of the meadow. I could hardly tell where was up and where was down. The music was still sleepy and ambient, but decidedly less lamenting and lush. I stood up. The melancholic voice slowly gained in intensity, as to accompany my awakening. It was a good song, layering folk over a wash of droned reverbs. But something inside me wished the record had stayed in the ambient underwaters just a little longer. It had all felt too short. The singing I was hearing now, whilst delicate and graceful, felt incredibly loud in comparison. The track quickly felt too long, and I grew impatient to see where the album would take me next. The visions once so compelling were now weakened, faded. Of all the chapters so far, this was the only one I wanted to skip to the end of. But eventually, it all decayed away into noise and an ominous drone. The universe turned black, and I was left alone in a sea of nothing.
Chapter 6: Mirror of Our Sleeping
Glows emerged from the dark in the distance. Surreal beings started to sing in their unknown language. I was lost, but I knew I was watched over. I felt safe. The fire went out, and the meadow revealed itself differently in the fluorescent glow now dotting the black. There was nothing but the echoes of a few notes heard through seas of reverb, and some lamenting voices singing farewell. It only went on for a few minutes, but it concluded the dream nicely. I was slowly dying. And slowly, the record died with me.
I came back in a gasp. Was any of this real?
Foreign Body takes you into a different world, on a different plane; and while not perfect, especially in the folk sections, it certainly is an experience worth living. If you run out of Grouper to take you places, there is a path here that waits to be trodden. Above is the story it painted in my head, but certainly, the record will tell you your own. Some of the sections are stunningly beautiful, and in a way, that’s all that matters, isn’t it.