Just because a world is haunted doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful and inviting. The legendary Black Ox Orkestar’s return in 2022 is an unexpected gift. Few groups can hold so many disparate feelings and ideas together in the same breath, but the stunning “Viderkol (Echo)” occupies this impossible space. Black Ox Orkestar’s boundary-pushing exploration of Jewish folk music sounds forward-thinking while simultaneously simmering inside a timeless spirit. These sounds color in the gaps between growing shadows with poignant lucidity, like the realization of ancestral dreams.
Lamenting piano chord progressions sting in their gentle rise and fall, leaving cracks for Jessica Moss’s expressive violin arrangements. Sections look skyward before crashing back into the blackened soil, leaving the ground rich for the subsequent speculative cascade. Scott Gilmore starts the song in Yiddish, his register and delivery saturated with a vulnerable richness. As his voice joins with Moss’s, the line, “Nothing left here but an echo,” from the chorus stings and reminds us that even with the darkest clouds overhead, we’re still alive. We’re still moving. “You sound the same, but so far away,” they sing, their voices becoming part of the ether as “Viderkol” etches itself into our collective memory.
“Viderkol (Echo)” appears on Black Ox Orkestar’s first album in 16 years, Everything Returns, out on December 2 via Constellation. Get it HERE.