STEFFIE MOONLADY & DENNIS HAKLAR – To The Universe

Floating White Lotus 2021

STEFFIE MOONLADY
& DENNIS HAKLAR –
To The Universe

Throbbing immersion into the depths of existence as guided by enchanted voyagers who follow their star from a world to a world.

Intimacy can manifest itself in various ways, and music is one of the most powerful of these – that’s the fact which Dennis Haklar knows too well, as wife Stefanie, known as Moonlady now, has been his muse for ages, from the American multi-instrumentalist’s 2012 debut "Lizard's Tale" onward, but more than a decade had to pass for the couple to realize the possibility of equal participancy in creative matters. Cue “To The Universe”: their family heirloom to be.

The duo’s album offers an ambient probe of both macrocosm and our inner world – the latter stripped of ego to become a clean-slate id and get merged into the former – in a hypnagogic, rather than hypnotic, manner, thus facilitating cathartic perception. Suspended in timelessness as if in ember, these pieces are too transparent to even try to transfix the listener, Moonlady’s voice and lyrics lulling them instead into an eternity-caressed reverie which Haklar’s strings embroider with fascinating details that keep on transpiring spin after spin.

And then there are marvelously fluctuating dynamics, slowly revealed as “Awakening” floats into focus on a synthetic wave, a frozen thunder, and grows in scope at the same time, all the while forming a fragile, albeit warm and non-glacial, melody whose flow is expanded in “Ocean Moon” where vocals and strum unfold a magnificent, and slightly claustrophobic, perspective of a space bigger than one’s psyche can possess. So though the record’s title track feels intangible, it’s in fact very down-to-earth, despite the sound effects and folk patterns applied to the song’s soft surface, yet the many voices and the weave of acoustic and electric lace color “Dream Blossom” dark for the underlying drone to take over the room and let operatic line fly to the skies, before “New Moon” releases an effervescent raga groove into the ether.

However, the Eastern-flavored “Earth’s Wind” leads the drift even further into the subconscious, and allows Dennis to plug in on “Great Spirit Moon” and soar in sparse fits higher and higher, but Steffie’s low tones stay on the ground to anchor this adventure and that of “Tamparawa” with its unhurried tribal dance. Still, the flamenco-spiced purity of “Beautiful Child” is bound to stick to everybody’s memory as a weightless cobweb, which the wind and choir of “Rainforest” will wash away in a pushy, cinematic fashion for “Epilogue” to bring to a climactic, meditative close.

The result is a trip akin to no other – a journey into a person’s self that’s simultaneously confused and cleansed and, thus, is captivating.

****

October 8, 2021

Category(s): Reviews
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