Die Stadt/Janet

The opera prima by Fovea Hex is structured like many 70s progressive albums – three tracks on the first side, and a suite on the second – except that this is a limited edition double CD, not a vinyl. This project by Hafler Trio’s Andrew McKenzie and singer Clodagh Simonds (remember Mike Oldfield’s Hergest Ridge?) is based upon rarefied superimpositions of voices and acoustic instruments (viola, harmonium, piano) plus “organic matter” by McKenzie himself. Bloom is the most “vocal” half, as Simonds’ transparent (glacial?) voice sings the marrow of three diaphanous songs whose harmonic content is all dim light and near-undetectable movements of the tectonic plates beneath the musicians’ feet (Brian and Roger Eno are “special surprise guests”, even if their presence is rather discreet, if you’ll forgive the pun). The Explanation starts from rigorous silence, gathers impalpable sounds, seemingly from an underwater out-of-tune radio, and finally stabilizes in a harmonious invocation recalling Pink Floyd ca. Obscured By Clouds before being interrupted by Simonds’ processed voice, and then silence. Finely conceived and unobtrusively brilliant.

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