Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose: Bridge Carols

I’ve discussed Laura Gibson before, but the need keeps coming back to revisit her work.  Gibson is a powerhouse – evolving and revolving with each passing moment.  And so it is no surprise that her collaboration with fellow Portland resident Ethan Rose represents another step forward.  The Bridge Carols website describes it like this:

Bridge Carols, the new project from Portland, OR friends Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose, began as a conversation of mutual appreciation and curiosity — a shared desire to challenge old ways of working. Ethan had mostly distanced his music from words, while Laura had often felt bound by them.

To wit: Steeped in the fingerpick-guitar rudiments of folk music, inspired by the expressionism of classic jazz vocalists, and finding common ground in the minimalism and ear-taunting of the avant garde, Laura Gibson alights on a branch of the music tree that no one else has found (NPR called her last release Beasts of Seasons “a quiet masterpiece.”) Sound artist and composer Ethan Rose has released recordings, scored films, and created sound installations (upcoming exhibitions include a collaborative installation with glass artist Andy Paiko at the Museum of Contemporary Craft.)…

…As the project developed, Laura began improvising lyrics and wordless vocalizations, stream of consciousness singing that tumbled out of her in long trailing waves. They recorded in the basement, the forest, and the field – each session having its own unique mood as Laura reflected from subject to subject.

The result is something that moves subtly, yet deliberately, and plunges the listener into a hazy, breezy Summer evening.  The music calls out for space, and, in that space, silence.  It does not overwhelm, or give into fits of bombast, but, instead, it washes over you with a simple, earthy beauty.  Here’s how Dusted Magazine puts it:

Part of the beauty of Bridge Carols—and this is a beautiful record—is the way that the line between real and contrived, natural and synthetic, shifts under your feet. Still, the music seems redolent with memory, imagination and doubt, strange yet recognizably reflecting the most mysterious parts of the human experience.

This is indeed a record to lose yourself in.  Its constellations of sounds need to be absorbed slowly, and are perhaps best appreciated in private.  There are movements in these sounds that stir echoes deep within, and then call them forth.  Listen to the whole thing below, and see for yourself – preferably on a day when you’ve nothing to do, and no one to call you away.

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