Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mountain Babies - Existence of Resistance EP

photo by Jade Amey
Mountain BabiesExistence of Resistance 

There's something mystical captured on these songs... Meditative music for quiet nights and thundering thoughts; souls yearning for peace while the heart could still be racing. Ambient-folk quartet Mountain Babies hail from Port Huron, about halfway up Michigan's thumb, right along the coast of the lake by the Blue Water Bridge.

Their brew of intricately arranged post-rock ruminations evoke a borderland feeling, just as Port Huron is one's last stop along M-25 before that sizable city fades away into the more rural, wooded areas... Their music, in turn, is a soundscape in flux from where the structures of rock and rhythmic folk start to fray into the more ethereal and ambient.... Their meticulous instrumentality, attention to tones, dynamics, dazzling pickups-and-pedals, and that fluttery reverb coating the vocals like a thick vapor certainly add to that transporting-you-elsewhere vibe that splashes over you during the gossamer glides of "Existence of Resistance" and "The Witch," but there might be something else at play here...

The band's latest EP, Existence of Resistance, was recorded during a tumultuously surreal time - the presidential election's avalanche of vitriol, dread and disorientation had just discharged, a natural phenomena of a "super moon" was orbiting across the night skies, and one of the most profound and poetic musicians of all time, Leonard Cohen, had just passed away... You can feel something at the 2:00-mark of the title track... A sudden shudder and then a surge, something erupts from those guitars and purifying aggression to the hit of those drums. This song travels from an airy drift, to a strumming rocker, to a flexed, furtive churn, and then pulls back....drifts into a calmness, and softens into a denouement of delicate acoustic guitar cascades. There's a lot on their minds. A lot on all of our minds. This song takes its time with its three movements, but it affects the longing to recapture a harmony of the soul.

While their previous album was called The Cottage, The Creek & The Spirit..., I'm reading this manifestation of "resistance" as a sliding back from the escapism suggested by the idyllic spaces suggested in the last album's title, and instead, coming back closer to that boundary, where the peace of the wilderness juts up, or fuses, with the anxieties and issues and possibilities of the crowded city. Who's listening? Who needs to be turned on? Who needs release, and calm, but also a shrewd taking-stock moment of where they're at and where they're going... This is the music for that meditation you've been trying, the one where you just can't quite calm down... But you're almost there.

Mountain Babies

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