On her first soccer Committee album in 15 years, Mariska Baars’ work continues to take the barest moments and offer them as sonic sacraments to hold gently before they fade away. Over eight songs in under 15 minutes, Baars’ music flits in the air and soothes like a cool breeze. Tell From the Grass is gone before its full impact is felt, a ghost whisper that haunts long after the closing notes of “So Gefält” fade away.
Baars’ music takes ideas and strips them down to the barest necessities. Guitar chords are picked slowly, methodically so that each note gets its moment to sing. “Interstellar” weaves multiple vocal loops into an entrancing choral wave, while Baars mournfully sings across austere, reverberating strings. These songs fill vast empty spaces, each note echoing across the divide and morphing into their own severed languages. Tell From the Grass surprises in the way it takes such familiar elements and presents them in stark contrast to our expectations.
Quiet music is not easy. Tranquil birdsong chirps in the background of “While You’re In the World,” augmented by gentle clicks and ethereal guitar while Baars softly repeats, “While you’re in the world, please stay.” It’s over in less than a minute, disappearing so abruptly that I question whether it actually happened, but the heaviness it leaves in my chest is a reminder. Beautiful.
Much of Tell From the Grass follows a similar pattern, using minimal guitar passages to underlie Mariksa Baars’ enchanting vocals. These stark, solemn pieces are powerful reminders to hang on to even the smallest moments while we can because there’s no way to know when that tender murmur will be the last.
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