Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mining deep indeed

Sometimes you come across records you like because of your specific musical tastes. Other times it's because you know the people in the band or have seen them play many worthwhile shows. Still other times it's to see what all the hype for a certain band or album is about. And then there are the records that come from the shadows and knock you off your feet. Such is the case with Inca Ore's Birthday of Bless You. While going over the Not Not Fun website I came across a boldened announcement stating that there was one final repress of 85 copies of this limited release LP. The description caught my attention with turns of phrase such as,"psychedelic secrecy, rippling whispers, and private ghost ballads." I knew that I was destined to own this album.

Inca Ore is better known as Eva Saelens, and is a member of celebrated, spacey psych group Jackie-O Motherfucker. Listening to her solo work you can certainly understand why. Birthday of Bless You, as soon as the needle drops, comes quietly out of the darkness whispering a language of haunted beauty. The entire first side flows like a blissful river carrying the listener on the hypnotizing tone of Eva's voice. Layered with deep reverb, and lo-fi aesthetic, the music transcends typical expectations in favor of a much farther off spiritual dimension.

The accompaniment itself is minimal. Often times not being created by recognizable instruments at all, but instead soothing and swirling tones that ebb and flow to give more depth to the key ingredient, the voice itself. Nothing, per se, is ever loud, but sometimes the thickness of the sound builds, and then other times drops away to reveal a folky, almost Americana lying underneath. There is even a cover of Merle Haggard's Silver Wings to tie it all together.

The second side of this precious slab pounces with a brief cacophony before sinking back down into the tides below. Though there are more silent moments between the songs here, there certainly is more diversity, and epic composition. From a piece that wobbles back and forth with some type of fractured instrument, to a piece where Eva cries out, almost totally acapella, and not really singing at all, that we are all pearls and we should realize this. Finally belting out that she does, revealing a bit of a southern accent.

It continues on with striking songs punctuated by cannon-esque toms, and ancient church like hymns carried on the psychic wings of murky organs among other things. The echo of her voice stretches farther and farther as the songs go on, carrying the listener farther and farther from the material world, until finally it slips away just as beautifully as it came in. I have been listening to the album over and over again for two weeks and am still mesmerized by it each and every listen.

So beyond the Jackie-O connection, beyond the limited release put out by Not Not Fun, and even beyond the fantastic yet simple hand screened cover containing some very nice artwork on the insert, if you have even the slightest inclination towards amazingly well crafted, lo-fi, reverbed and blissed out music, then you must at all cost find a copy of Birthday of Bless You, by Inca Ore.

It's also worth taking a few minutes to check out her interesting blog, and her myspace profile to hear samples of some of her work.

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