DEBORAH MARTIN: Deep Roots Hidden Water (2010)
“Deep Roots Hidden Water is an amazing musical journey that is tenebrous, intriguing, mysterious and surprisingly melodious”
1 Haunted by Water 3:45
2 A Dark and Silent Place 2:44
3 Deep Roots, Hidden Water 3:45
4 One Sun 4:23
5 Crossing Plateau 5:53
6 Blue Lake 7:02
7 The Strength of Stones 4:53
8 Voices on the Rim 9:28
9 The Brilliance of Stars 4:16
10 Across Sky 3:19
(CD/DDL 49:27) (V.F.)
I had been seduced by the musical approach of Deborah Martin on the very beautiful Erik Wøllo album, Between Worlds released in 2009. Enough to investigating a little more her musical universe, which is describes on Internet as being New Age. It's thus with ears a little apprehensive that I approached DEEP ROOTS HIDDEN WATER, an album that was out of print and that Spotted Peccary remastered in a nice digipack edition, including a booklet, back in 2010. The album includes 10 tracks that bring us into prohibited spiritual territories, on semi- ambient structures strongly tinted of a mysticism orchestral approach at the same time lyric and tribal.
Well installed behind her synth, Deborah Martin has fun modulating a sampling palette that resembles a mini symphonic orchestra, a chamber orchestra. And that's how the album opens. Haunted by Water and A Dark and Silent Place are sculpted on samplers of soft violins, oboe and cellos to create soft atonal melodies built on intuitive dreams. There are no rhythms in this music, like everywhere on the 50 minutes of DEEP ROOTS HIDDEN WATER, but only an orchestral-electronic fusion which flows like a timeless poetry. The structure of the title-track is identical, except for Tony Levin's bass which murmurs an undecided rhythm on an amalgam of poignant strings of violins and of noble oboes. Fine tabla style percussions open the mystical One Sun. A slow and captivating title which evolves on a soft dreamlike structure where angelic voices caress the hot astral winds under synths with the scent of celestial trumpets. The more we move in this album, the more we enter a more complex musical world. Crossing Plateau is an ambient title animated by bass pulsations, which give a soft temperate impetus, and by a synth with incantatory murmurs and whose orchestral veils are besieged by elements as heterogeneous as fascinating. Blue Lake brings us to the spiritual doors of the First Nations peoples with soft tribal flutes which merge their chants on a synth with slow dark impulses which form anonymous loops in an ethereal mist. Chords of a solitary guitar roll in loops here and throw a little light to this dark title but very revealing of the Aboriginal spirituality. We could describe The Strength of Stones like a strange ghostly western with its acoustic guitar and its raspy synth pushing its tones like a detuned violin. Evolving in an ambience that is both quirky and mysterious, The Strength of Stones is the ballad of a black knight out of the bowels of a dark yet unknown world. Voices of the Rim thrills our ears with this fusion of Indian and traditional flutes which blow soft melodies on a slow structure veiled in an ancestral mist. The Brilliance of Stars is very poetic with its synth with slow movements of serenity which cross a discreet flute with light breaths. Across Sky is the only track where you can hear a form of movement behind a dense curtain of orchestral strata that forge a sweet symphony for lonely dreamers. A dense and intense title, Across Sky ends where Haunted by Water has started.
A dark orchestra in the dunes and spooky woods of an extinct civilization! This is the best way to describe this strange, but graceful, ambient album that is DEEP ROOTS HIDDEN WATER. I don't think this second album by Deborah Martin dips into the tasteless ease that is the New Age as we knew it at the dawn of the 80's. Too dark and too ambient! But it's still an amazing musical journey that is tenebrous, intriguing, mysterious and surprisingly melodious. Like these melodies that arise from the unknown to taunt our ears.
Sylvain Lupari (October 28th, 2010) ***½**
Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp