From The Mouth Of The Sun is the transnational duo of Aaron Martin (United States) and Dag Rosenqvist (Sweden). Their latest release “Sleep Stations” was a cassette release on Lost Tribe Sound through their Dead West series (following on from releases by William Ryan Fritch and Seabuckthorn). It is a fitting relationship between musicians and label that previously spawned the great “Hymn Binding” album. Musically the duo join the roster of the likes of William Ryan Fritch, Alder & Ash, The Green Kingdom and fit in well without sounding like any of them. The fact that this is already sold out (quite possibly on pre-order alone) is a testament to the music and also reward for the labels hard work.
“The pieces of Sleep Stations were composed during many of the
same sessions as Hymn Binding and Menashe, yet they feel like a natural
continuation of From the Mouth of the Sun’s sound, a stepping stone
towards the next chapter, if you will. The core sound will be instantly
recognizable for those who’ve followed their previous endeavors,
comprised of cello, piano, acoustic guitars, lap steel, banjo, ukulele, pump
organ, soft humming electronics and warm layer of static.”
“About the Birth of Stars” hypnotic repetitive ukulele and acoustic guitar open the track with an earthy and toy like instrument feeling. There is a sense of innocence that moves on to a more reflective feel once the drones ever so slightly creep in and are joined by Martin’s cello which comes in layers and styles alongside what sounds like a section of banjo. The elements all wrap around each other in twisting forms for only a brief amount of time before dissipating. The major part of the track is full of sound sources that inhabit their own sphere, while not masking others. The track is so brief that it is almost a tease of what could be a full epic track.
“Reaching When Nothing is There” is a Drone/ Classical hybrid. Utilizing the dark deep tones of cello and pump organ as well as piano and electronic elements to create a moody piece of noir-ish music. Knowing the cinematic history of the musicians, you can see where the vision lies. They manage to build a track which without sounding insulting, lesser musicians may have left as ssimply’a nice drone’ track and have expanded on it thanks to the incorporation of the piano and electronics that give it an at times whimsical feel and at other times a moody reflectiveness.
“About the Life of Stars” slowly growing organic feeling drones with a static that gradually starts coating the music with a light haze. Drones cut across like synth stabs of the prog variety, some short, others long and searching. The drones don’t overpower and come across as relaxed, but also like a background noise rather than a traditional foreground sound.
“Sleep Stations” the title track follows on with a similar static, but this time the music while also drone orientated feels for some reason distant and I get a feeling of being in a slightly wavy sea with a fog surrounding just before dawn. The music is constructed in a way where it gently reveals itself with the elements taking time to create this large scale sound scape. The sounds, textures and pace all compliment each other in this work where tension and emotion are central parts and the emphasis seems to be about building a feeling for the listener to engage with.
“About the Death of Stars” stark minimalist piano sounding like water dripping, saw like sounds, pump organ vibrations and low deep slowly bowed cello construct this piece that goes from minimal to maximal over its journey. The cello and piano are essential elements to the track in that they control the pace, but also reach out and conically explore. The way that they have quite different tones and temperaments, but yet work so well is noted. The pump organ provides a bridge of sound for the piano and cello to meet and when they do it’s their collaborative qualities that takes the track into the main movement of the piece and elevates it to greater heights. The music never gets overblown as it has a certain amount of restraint that allows the emotion to be held in check.
“A Place We Cannot See” ends the Ep on a high with an innocent sounding piece that is full of the warmth of pump organ alongside, cello and what sounds like a toy piano, such is the sweet melodies constructed. You can easily go over the top with dripping melancholy with the instrumentation used by the duo, in particular cello, but at no time do they really reach that territory. Much like the opening track, you would be happy if they expanded this vignette as it could easily be three to possibly four times its two minute length and be engaging.
You would be hard to find a duo based in two different countries that are as compatible and engaging as Martin and Rosenqvist. The way they interact and utilize their collective knowledge from their own solo careers enables them to put out release after release of simply some of the finest music you will hear. If you are lucky enough to have snagged yourself a copy of the tape you can just flip it over and press play again. For the rest of us, just go back and start over again. Totally Recommended.