The lush tones of secret garden hymnals become tangible, ethereal landscapes in Cynthia Bernard’s hands as marine eyes. The ten vignettes on chamomile don’t simply tell a story; they invite listeners to find their own narrative within these lilting arrangements. The empty space is nestled within the warm synths, expressive guitars, and magnetic field records. Somewhere we can immerse ourselves and find a hypnotic calm.
Stretched melodies are at the core of chamomile, whether in the ebullience of “cedarwood,” the sublime vocals on “magic familiar,” or the slow strums of “filler of hearts,” Bernard distills unearthly harmonies into pure streams. “cedarwood” resonates with a transcendental fullness. Shimmering chord progressions rise and fall, following a breath of anticipation as skies become effervescent jetstreams infused with arpeggiated gem tones and shadow dreams. Night fades into a welcome shade of midnight blue where we can cast our spirits.
Verdant soundscapes encircle Bernard’s disembodied voice in the opulent silhouettes of “magic familiar.” Familiar memories ascend toward the surface, hidden in distant waves that spill into the stunning “what’s on the inside.” Joined by the wonderful City of Dawn, Bernard’s voice is twisted in reverse, casting a beam of pure light into the ambient darkness. Within its aural prism, we are weightless. The feeling returns in the gossamer stretches of “sky nap,” though hues of yellow and pink permeate its expansive atmosphere. Dawn brings a fresh start, an outstretched path toward the horizon.
“outpourings” pierces through the liminal shroud with guitar elements that remind me of the late, great Azusa Plane, with a reflective undercurrent and propulsive glow. It’s the downslope edge compared to the title track, which only floats upward. “chamomile” hangs in gossamer tendrils in the canopy surrounded by birdsong and the breath of tomorrow. Elegant landscapes blossom in the elegiac tones and enveloping arrangements making everything feel safe here. Bernard’s gift is this heavenly world. chamomile is a wonder.