Mind Over Mirrors
Commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago for its world premiere performance, and recorded and mixed by Fennelly with John McEntire (Tortoise), it features Janet Beveridge Bean (Freakwater), Jim Becker (Iron and Wine), and Jon Mueller (Death Blues).
A twelve-faceted sonic inquiry into celestial cycles, the rhythms of the natural world, and the illuminating nature of darkness, the accompanying album Bellowing Sun is the majestic culmination of Fennelly's immersive explorations of the natural world's sensory dimensions and the dialogues between musical traditions'acoustic and electronic, vernacular and avant-garde.
The solitary compositional genesis of the piece, and a significant portion of its early recording (before tracking and mixing sessions with John McEntire of Tortoise), occurred at Bean's home atop a dune of fine quartz 'singing sands' on the shore of Lake Michigan. Sonically, Bellowing Sun is both kaleidoscopic and telescopic in nature, offering a radiant palette of rhythmic, textural, and tonal complexity, as well as rapid shifts in scale, from the intimately corporeal to the dizzyingly cosmic.
All four J's'Jaime, Janet, Jim, and Jon'appeared together on Undying Color, but have since solidified into a formidable, cohesive unit, a true band capable of increasingly expansive arrangements. Though divided into twelve movements, or aspects'zodiacal sectors, perhaps'the piece functions as a heroic, integral whole.
The album's sequence reveals a dynamic push and pull between contemplative stasis and headlong momentum, imparting a palpably physical mass to the cataracts of sound. Bean sings on half of the tracks, including early stunner 'Matchstick Grip' and the spectacular closer 'Pause to Wonder.' Whether articulating words or intoning phonemes, her powerful, lucent voice elevates the proceedings to a devotional plane whenever it emerges from the saturated field of sound.
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