Published Mar 30, 2017When loud, angry, "alternative facts" are consistently demonstrated to trump objectively known realities and threaten the very natural makeup of the world around you, gestures towards the very notion of truth begin to feel revolutionary. For Rebecca Foon, whose environmental and social activism is inseparable from her work as an artist (in ongoing and former musical projects Esmerine, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, the Mile End Ladies String Auxiliary and Fifths of Seven), that's enough to spur action and reflection.
Her second solo release as Saltland, A Common Truth, offers meditations on climate change, unfolding in spellbinding passages that entrance with deeply resonating, emotional dispatches on the realities facing the natural world, healing warmth and cosmic awareness. Built primarily from Foon's ethereal vocals and both acoustic and processed cello, that all manifests across the record nebulously, but there's an unmistakable gravity to it that insures it's all operating in the same realm.
On opening track "To Allow Us to Breathe," harmonized voice and cello strings co-meditate over a humming drone process, synchronized regulations dually counting listeners into Foon's Common Truth and its proposal that we exist in cellular, collective relation to a greater, universal whole. That theme echoes across ACT, Foon's cello loops building stirring, densely populated worlds while the album's five lyrically-compelled pieces — often delivered in the second person — gracefully engage the myriad emotions orbiting climate protection.
The title track delivers a screeching, powerful assessment of the earth's dire condition, complete with blasting guitars supplied by producer Jace Lasek (Besnard Lakes), and Foon issues a questioning, mournful cultural critique of perpetual "greed and wanting more" on "Light of Mercy," but ACT's greatest strength might be its steadfast, righteous patience. "Under My Skin" delivers a twinkling piano lullaby to apathy, and on album single "I Only Wish This for You," Foon offers just one pregnant word to contemplate amidst its mounting intensity: "Transformation."
A Common Truth arrives with its share of New Age baggage, and to be sure, it's a dreamy call to environmental awakening, but it's all anchored in the grassroots, celebrating the boots on the ground. It's a spiritually holistic, potent dose of manna fit to feed a weathered movement. ()