Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anne Clark & Martyn Bates - Just After Sunset - The Poetry Of Rainer Maria Rilke (1998)



I'll be honest here, I have something of a 'mood' fetish. Two of my all-time favorite musicians are, admittedly, video game composers: Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda, simply because they are masters at capturing and creating mood. Ever since I was old enough to remember, I have always been fascinated with the states of consciousness which have evaded the clumsy confinements of language. These powerful, yet untellable feelings which go beyond ephemeral "creaturely" sensations are the closest thing I've ever gotten to spirituality (roughly 'property of breath' in latin). Many artists have dedicated their entire lives trying to translate this strange and complex feeling into words, but few have been as successful as Rainer Maria Rilke.

I first stumbled upon Rilke's work when I was 16. For some reason or another I arbitrarily assumed he was in fact a she. Maybe, it was the 'Maria' in his name, but for whatever reason I unintentionally assigned a feminine quality to his his poems which may or may not have been real or imagined. Because of this, Anne Clark's sober, maternal voice sounds so natural to me in this context.

Wind chimes. Rainfall. Candlelight. Old photographs. Autumn. All of these things have a commonality: solemnity. Rilke's poetry and Bate's music also encompass this property. Combine the two together and you get a haunting and dense internal landscape shimmering with beauty and expressiveness. The ruminative, reposeful instrumentation is appropriately well-suited for Rilkean lyrics. Think less Eyeless in Gaza and more acoustic In Embrace. My one advisory: some may find this a bit too cloying, but I dig it.

Rating: 8.5/10

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