Esoteric Antenna 2016
Testing the limit of mundane observations, Larks’ Tongues dreamer and a Magnetic Pet embrace poetry in motion.
After a virtual construKCtion of stellar wind on "Starless Starlight" that saw David Cross return to his erstwhile base with Robert Fripp, the violinist ventured down to earth for a better vantage point, and this time his fellow traveler is Seán Quinn, a synth maven from electropop trio TINY MAGNETIC PETS whose tender touch adds a luminous transparency to the veteran’s progressive ascent. It’s never more clear than on “The M Chord” where shimmering keyboards evoke the CRIMSON six-string undercurrent – which only underscores Cross’ contribution to that band – but the past is a spectral presence here, on a record with axis pointed way up high, to the future.
Music’s celestial gravitas referenced in most pieces on display, the Brendan Staunton-sung “Counting All The Stars” taps into traditional balladry with a faux-orchestral backdrop – only to vanish in vacuum and come back as the “Meaningless” finale – while the solemn “Skyline Vertical” soars through rarefied air towards overall rare beauty. As violin is gradually filling the space of a vibrant soundscape, dynamics shift without ever leaving a comfort zone so, though slightly sinister, “On Spider Hill” doesn’t unsettle, and two parts of “Arc En Ciel” take the album’s inherent melancholy to the folk-kissed cusp of bliss. Elsewhere, the deadpan-to-endearing delivery of Beth Hirsch – the chanteuse on AIR’s “Moon Safari” – may send chills down the spine in the title track, with handclaps propelling electronic ripple to emotional zenith, yet Paula Gilmer’s breathing harmonies warm “For Someone” until its buzz is fused to the listener’s heart.
That’s why cold blue sky is not the limit of this mortal sphere but a line linking us to cosmos – inner and outer – that’s perfectly captured here. A majestic creation.