April 27, 2011

Arborea – Red Planet

Red Planet opens with a short instrumental track of solo guitar, The Fossil Sea, that rather fittingly sets the tone for the whole CD. Subdued, tense, mysterious and teetering on the edge of this world and another.

You can count on Shanti Curran’s instantly recognizable vocals to complete the transition into the other world. Between her vocals and the excellent treatment they get in production, you are gently yet firmly escorted into gauzy ether.

Buck and Shanti will play anything and everything with strings to get the sound and feel that they want. Shanti’s banjo style is minimalistic and restrained no foolish light speed pickin’ here! And a lot of the attraction to this effort for me is the diverse line up of stringed instruments.

Spain is a particularly stand out piece. Helena Espvall’s haunting cello is in perfect synchronicity with the guitar work, precise and yet so achingly human. An absolutely beautiful piece and probably my favorite vocal work by Shanti.

In fact everything on this disc is so well fit together, melded into a musical whole that you dare not play only a select song or rearrange the track list. Please do not put this into shuffle on your player, you might well rend the time and space of our universe!

They aren’t afraid to stray from the plucked song, Red Planet is a soundscape that continues the tension and mystery of the effort as a whole, ideally placed between the vocal efforts that bookend it.

After 51 minutes of being under the Arborea spell you might wonder where you’ve been. It’s a time spent in another world, it feels a bit frightening but irresistible.

Careless Love by Strange Attractors

An interesting local note for me is that Taylor Mesple is credited with taking part in the engineering of the disc. Mesple’s father owns a local guitar shop and headed the band Wind Machine for many years. Taylor and his brother were members of the band at a very young age when I saw them playing and I was impressed with how good the two were, they had to be in their early teens. Glad to see he’s keeping good company.

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