The Beautiful Nowhere is just about as delicate as an album can be, without any of the implied weakness that often accompanies the description. The Surface of Your Sin, the opening track, begins with a few notes struck from what I can only assume (from reading the press release and then researching just what on earth it was) is a kalimba. Prior to that, I thought it was a gu zheng; which I mention purely to demonstrate the subtle skill in which sound has been allowed to bend around the listener’s own ideas or concepts.
Quite often, a song will construct a fairly specific concept or story, even if at times it’s purely through mood and maybe an indication or two of emotion; neither mood or emotion is absent on The Beautiful Nowhere, yet it’s so organic that it’s almost pliable, almost reshaped as you listen to it.
As textures build and/or expand, strings, vocals and effects quietly create space that is both ethereal and earthly. I have a pre-disposition for flights of fancy as it is, so I love it when music creates an atmosphere that lets my imagination take a few liberties with what I’m hearing (and for the record, that earthy/ethereal quality translated for me to liberties that ranged from images of slow moving, yawning giants who made the ground tremble with footsteps, to tiny insects with flickering wings; and even just the lovely simplicity of feeling the warmth of the sun through a clouded sky).
The album title may reference nowhere, but I imagine it’s what you’d hear if you put your ear to the ground and listened to the hum of the earth, the natural sound underneath the structures we’ve built – which has the same capacity to be simultaneously stark and refined, ancient and newborn, warm and cold, willing to yield to hardworking hands yet remarkably uncompromising, rife with spirit, of things yet to come, and rich with old tales.