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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Deborah Martin & Jill Haley Into the Quiet (2023)

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

We sail here the calm waters of a progressive New Age towards a slightly more accessible one

1 Sleeping Giants 4:35

2 Falling Away from the Earth 6:22

3 Into the Quiet 8:32

4 Reaching the Ambient 4:23

5 Refuge 5:08

6 Hall of Whispers 5:36

7 Elements 4:11

8 Violet Night 4:27

(CD/DDL 24Bits 43:14) (V.F.)

(Progressive New Age)

What an artwork! Everything is well thought here with a music, a vibe that fits this sublime picture. If you enjoyed the main lines of The Silence of Grace, a critically acclaimed beautiful album that found its way into Zone Music Reporter's Top 20 Albums of 2021, there's no reason why you shouldn't with Martin/Haley's INTO THE QUIET. While the first album exploited themes representing the beauties of the universe, this second collaboration by Deborah Martin and Jill Haley is more focused on human experience. Of our inner spirit. In so doing, the 2 composers emphasize the notion that we must venture into the quiet to discover the hidden depths within ourselves. In so doing, the album exploits this duality to achieve this inner quest, as well as more melodic themes to sail the calm waters of a progressive New Age towards a slightly more accessible one. Especially in the second half of INTO THE QUIET, an album, like The Silence of Grace, produced by American label Spotted Peccary Music.

A slightly droning but rather solemn shadow rises from the introduction of Sleeping Giants. We float, equal to the sleep of sleeping giants, in a bucolic atmosphere that flirts with the limits of cinematic music. This impression is felt at several points on the album by the way. Immediately, we notice the delicate vision of sadness in the cries of Jill Haley's oboe. A discreet voice layer and some melancholy violin blades inject a certain luminosity into the shadows of sadness that accompany this slow, very atmospheric-meditative, movement in a context where this fusion of weeping winds with a synth layer and its contours purr in symbiosis with the oboe's moroseness. These melancholy scents and tenebrous hums occupy much of the ambience of the first half of INTO THE QUIET. A tinkle awakens our curiosity as Falling Away from the Earth develops. Its resonance and evanescent shimmer illuminate this floating web woven between the airs of a dreamy flute and a synth layer whose morphic side is nourished by somnolent drones. This union of acoustic and electronic ends up weaving an orchestral texture that is torn between nostalgia and the secret side of esotericism. The poignant harmonies of the flute and the silvery vibrations of the bells struggle with the dissimilarity of the dark irradiations of the synths, bringing more sonic arguments into this symphony of contrasts governing the territorial limits between hope and bitterness that is flowing at some points in this album.

The flute is more serene, a little less moving, in the title track. It mingles around the breaths of the English horn to float over the nasal and nostalgic timbre of a quiet, of a floating synth melody. The two musicians inject a little fantasy into their melodic textures. Here, as in many parts of INTO THE QUIET, Deborah Martin plays wonderfully between the music's serene and murky aspects, fusing the buzzing shadows of her synths with the more elegiac textures of the wind instrument harmonies. A secret rhythm activates the ambiences of Reaching the Ambient. We hear it in a blend of string instruments, such as piano or harp, which structure an astral ascent under flute-like airs. The tone evolves both gravely and playfully in this acoustic/electronic vision, leading to a beautiful sampling of orchestrations after its second minute. At once celestial and mournful, Refuge brings us to this album's more accessible New Age level with the quavering melodies of flute and oboe textures. The synth flows a peaceful stream of arpeggios as discreet as a shadow of night on this highly musical and poignant track from INTO THE QUIET. Hall of Whispers follows this tangent with hyper-emotional music guided by melody and the dreamy step of a harp. The arrangements weave an impressive dramatic canvas that is enhanced by the very moving dimensions of the flute and oboe tunes, but above all the orchestrations. Impossible not to love! I'd say the same for Elements and Violet Night, which exploit the same musical textures with different degrees of emotion in the moods and harmonies.

If we can't reach that introspective quest, Deborah Martin and Jill Haley's INTO THE NIGHT remains a pleasant musical companion for reading and/or reaching for the long arms of Morpheus, depending on our nights. It's a more musical album than the first, which can serve as a guide to tame us to its more difficult paths. Although the first half of INTO THE NIGHT is by no means a foregone conclusion! Available on CD digipack and as a 24-bit download from Spotted Peccary Music.

Sylvain Lupari (July 13th, 2023) ****¼*

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)


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