Where do dreams come from? That’s something I think about more often than I actually remember my dreams these days. Ora Clementi, the duo of crys cole and James Rushford, are architects, in a way, constructing a sonic Neverland from a synthetic mosaic of lucid digital ephemera and vocal hypnosis. Details for days are spread across these 14 pieces, adding an enchanting aural realism that brings these blotter-soaked compositions to life. Sylva Sylvarum is an intoxicating soundworld; an exotic place to get lost exploring so we can find ourselves.
In the opening moments, as the chiming fractal curtains are pulled back on “Peach Immortality,” digitized waves rise from unseen sunken terraces, like ghost butlers trying to put everything into place before everything is open for business. Utopian patterns frolic into the frame as “Umbrella Spinner” takes both cole’s and Rushford’s breathy vocalizations on a flitting romp into underwater tunnels before evaporating into metallic dust, leaving us alone to dwell on the strange sonic murals hanging in the air.
Birds peck out wooden rhythms while fuzzy electronics sigh in the breeze on “Vulning,” the lines where one ends the other begins blurred beyond recognition. Snippets of cole’s voice, processed and sent back through time, attempt to pierce the veil of hiss. Alert tones fade in and out, an unsettling invitation to push further into Sylva Sylvarum where Callum G’Froerer’s solemn trumpet contemplation on “Milk Street” strips any notion of this universe being paradise. It’s dense. It’s real. It hurts.
Taking a straight line from the high-wire scaling, latent Broadcast skewed-pop vibes of “Magic Mountain,” rootless and drifting toward a green and pink glow at the horizon, Ora Clementi finally finds rest on the massive, brilliant “Forest of Materials.” The spatial motion of their respective voices, subtly moving across the audial field is hypnotizing with cole and Rushford alternating syllables and creating a warped sense of balance. G’Froerer’s trumpet and Joe O’Connor’s trombone sing forlorn drones, weeping beneath the shifting surface as this perfect world tenderly splits about at the seams. Sylva Sylvarum is a beguiling masterpiece.
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