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My Silent Wake: Invitation to Imperfection

The birds chirping during "Melodien Der Waldgeister" really threw me off base. I was out walking (it's the beginning of Spring here in Utah) and I couldn't decide whether the birds were real or recorded or maybe some mixture of both. I had to go back and listen to the beginning of that track again before I let it go. My story probably isn't a good way to start a serious review of an album—or is it? My Silent Wake has a reputation for experimentation and for creating a blend of doom and dark ambient music. Like me, other listeners may find "Melodien Der Waldegeister" a little bit uncanny. Aside from the birdsong, the track also includes the sound of someone walking. Alongside the footfalls, a flute plays a melody reminiscent of entertainment at a Renaissance Fair. The melody weaves in and out of the audio, as though the person walking is making a loop around the Fair. It's an interesting sonic experiment even though it's honestly too long.

So far, I've been talking about the closing track so I'll take a step back to introduce the album. The title, Invitation to Imperfection, captures much of what this album is doing generally. As Ian Arkley (vocals, guitar) points out, it represents a balance between all the ways My Silent Wake makes music. There are acoustic sections, ambient sections, and just plain My Silent Wake sections. To achieve this balance, the band worked together to write every song, sometimes even reaching out to friends and associates for input—a brave move. They also recorded in multiple locations and drew on the sonic possibilities of multiple instruments, including the zither, the karimba, the pump organ, and the mandolin. The result is a nice collection of songs that are reflective, colorful, and fascinating. I listened to the album in multiple settings, including on my daily walk, and I discovered new things with every listen. There's nothing typical about this album. More ambient than doom, the album nevertheless has weight to it that should appeal to a broad audience. I know I'll listen to it regularly.

Ian Arkley also points out that the album wasn't meant to show off either technical prowess or high powered production. Instead, it represented an opportunity to develop musical possibilities, even if that meant some imperfections along the way. No album is perfect, but I liked the idea of letting things take on their own lives even if it risks showing off a few flaws along the way. For me, the album sounded great from start to finish. If I have one criticism, it's that some tracks go on a little too long. The music establishes some wonderful reflective passages but they occasionally repeat one or two parts one too many times. Overall, though, this is a brave and honest album, one that I'll enjoy for the next few months. I recommend at the very least checking out "Helgar Kindir" and "You Drift Away."

Track Listing:
1. Vorspiel
2. Helgar Kindir
3. Volta
4. Bleak Spring
5. Tempest
6. The Fear
7. Lament Of The Defeatist
8. Aventurine
9. Song of Acceptance
10. Nebula
11. You Drift Away
12. Cwiclác
13. Return of the Lost at Sea
14. Melodien Der Waldgeister

Added: March 29th 2017
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 256
Language: english

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