Published Feb 21, 2017Mind Over Mirrors is the droning, experimental electro-acoustic project of Jaime Fennelly, typically driven by synths and pedal harmonium. On 2015's The Voice Calling, Haley Fohr of Circuits Des Yeux brought her rich, sonorous baritone voice (and a little bit of scratchy guitar playing) to aid these psychedelic textures. Their newest album together, Undying Color, continues and expands their creative partnership, which here features Janet Beveridge Bean (Eleventh Dream Day), Jim Becker (Califone) and Jon Mueller (Volcano Choir, Death Blues).
The most noticeable sonic evolution on this new album is in the realm of rhythm, an unusual highlight for ambient or drone music. "Restore & Slip" opens the album with a rollicking pastoral bounce, like if Henry Flynt played on Sigur Ros's "Gobbledigook." The 12-minute centrepiece "Gravity Wake" is grounded by a simple, plodding drumbeat that is given a kind of ceremonial majesty by the undulating waves of harmonium and synth; Fohr's rich vocals sound like a prayer or incantation.
This spiritualism is another thread running through the album, and it blends well with the added percussion and humanity. "Gray Clearer" is another good example, on which an orchestral bass drum booms at a very sombre pace and other percussion sounds (chimes, bells and/or shakers) later add a transcendent, psychedelic vibe.
While it can be a pretty heavy and involved listening experience at times, Undying Color should more than satisfy long-time fans and impress connoisseurs of avant-garde/ambient music. Furthermore, while the folkier textures serve the themes and moods of the album well, they will hopefully draw in some new fans, too. (Paradise of Bachelors)