Review Summary: The liminal state between hope and reality.
Cinematic music is often labelled as a listening experience best suited during a certain time or situation. But then if the music is crafted to such a level that it allows you to conjure a specific setting or situation, why should it matter when we listen to it? When we are alone and isolated, do we need to listen to lonesome music in order to feel comforted by our solitude, do we need to listen to upbeat music in order to feel happy and grateful or can the same feelings be discovered within something more pensive piece of music?
Minimalism is used frequently in cinematic music as if allows the audience to create their own visualisations with what little is offered rather than have it presented to fully formed. Fool’s Ghost utilises this method throughout the entirety of “Dark Woven Light”
. Iridescent guitar melodies slowly trickle above soft, swelling keys like tears during “Epilogue” and “Golden”, the sparsely placed melodies in “Ghost Heart” and “Fugue” creates a weightless sensation like peacefully floating underwater, watching the sunlight glint through the rippling surface. However, there is always an underlying sense of despair and darkness within these songs; pleasant as it may be to feel suspended underwater, if you don’t break the surface at some point then you’ll drown.
Another way in which the atmospheric expanse of this album proves to be its most poignant quality is that it feels open-ended. Listening closely to this record, you discover that it poses more questions than providing answers. Many bands carry their message across in a direct way: ‘don’t do this or that’ or ‘this is how things are, we need to change it’. Fool’s Ghost, however, help their audience themselves discover the root of some inner turmoil: ‘why is it this way?’, ‘what’s the point of it all?’ Musically, these moments of clarity are highlighted when some of Amber’s mournful lyrics are isolated in near-silence. Consequently, anyone with half a heart is faced with a mini existential crisis in “All Hours” during the beautifully sung ‘Why do we break each other’s hearts?’ During “Touch”, her yearning permeates the dark soundscape as if someone is stretching to cling onto something already out of reach when she sings “I just want to feel your touch.” Another instance in the same song is when the crushing weight of the world comes down on you, she calmly advises us to “just focus on your breathing”- a simple act that carries a lot of weight, just like the music itself.
Although Amber’s voice may be the records strongest point, there’s no denying that without that companionship between the two, Fool’s Ghost, wouldn’t nearly be as cinematic as it is. “Dark Woven Light”
has a tangible… presence… about it. Perhaps it is due to the band comprising of a married couple and the companionship between Nick and Amber Thieneman is stitched into the music itself in a supportive and comforting way, but parts of this album feel like the artist and the audience are sharing the same moment together. There’s no ego, no agenda, only pure music performed from the heart. “Chasing Time” demonstrates this closeness best where you can’t help but feel empathy during the heart-breaking chorus. What’s most impressive is that each song contains its own special presence yet there is an argument to be made that the songs sound alike, conjuring another question: how can 10 similar sounding-songs appear so unique from one another?
“Dark Woven Light”
is not a record that can only be fully enjoyed during winter, if you feel lonely or at night. One might find loneliness in the gentle strokes of guitar; another might find peacefulness. This album is so sparsely decorated yet so full of emotion that you’re able to pint your own vision of the music without having to depend on what mood you’re in at the time. One thing is for certain though, this album will challenge why you’re in that mood. Who knows, the next time you listen to it, you may find you feel differently.