Light! Joy! Ascent! I See Stars in Your Heart by Brother SaturnRelease date: January 4, 2017
Brother Saturn left the listener on somewhat of a cliffhanger in part one of this duo but returns with the hopeful glimmer of a new day in Light! Joy! Ascent! I See Stars in Your Heart. We have been through, the black of night into the heart of darkness with Descent Into Madness and now we awaken to birdsong serenading patterns across a rising sun.
‘The Dawn of Something Beautiful’ is a perfect title for the opening track; it’s gentle, slumberous melodies awaken the listener to a sense of optimism and curiosity that had been kept in the distance in the other half of this paired release.
“You’re ready to wake up and if you’re not, you’re gonna stay pretending”
‘As The Universe Was Born So Was The Light’ is a philosophical ambient with a sample name dropping the likes of Hume and Freud discussing the role of nature and psychology in modern spirituality. The sedately track has the audiobook quality of constant engagement but the ambient skill of helping the listener drift in and out of contemplation as parts of the sample coincide especially well with musical elements at time such as the speaker referring to water against wet, droplet like keys and pads and noise that sound like falling rain. It’s what the man himself, Jake Murray once dubbed “sonichronicity”. I like it; it’s a calming exploration of the infinite cosmos of the human brain.
From this meditative state of tranquility the album throws the listener with a look back at some of the more anxious moments of Descent Into Madness, ’The Demons Within, Will Soon Be Gone’ features harsh, prodded piano work and abrasive, hissing pads that again true to the name burn out before they become overwhelming. It’s like Brother Saturn is reminding us that the demons never die, they just reside further within ourselves until they explode; integral to who we are. Although, the beauty is that they too sleep. I guess this track reminds us that even the most intensely sour moments of our lives will eventually give way to better times. ‘Drifting Through Sand’ assures that idea with an increasingly serene instrumentation that contains some brooding elements but ultimately, draws to a peaceful halt; leaving the listener with a silent respite to gather their thoughts and realign their ears before the album returns to the cerebral foreground with a new direction.
Dancing around the centre of the mix; spacey synth keys pan left and right to rouse the listener from the silence. The low, delicate croon of pads washes in aiding the slow introduction of programmed drums. The reflective, melancholic mood of the track mixed with the almost tangible determination to be more upbeat reminds me of The Bumble Bee Girl from Blind Melon’s ‘No Rain’ video; trying hard just to dance and be happy when life is just fucked up and yet intelligence is an anchor and emotions are an albatross. I feel like this track title really should come with a question mark – ‘How To Escape From Yourself’. Interestingly, ‘Lost In Time’ almost feel like the answer to that question as the spaced-out track feels far more disassociated and alienated. The simplicity of the track is it’s strength and it’s sci-fi twinge gives it a unique allure on the album.
Perpendicular to ‘The Demons Within, Will Soon Be Gone’ would be ’Peace is Only Temporary’. The penultimate track utilises guitar loops and lines to hypnotic effect. Although, over the full course of the track it also becomes quite anxious and nauseous before closing once again with a fittingly silent respite allowing the album one last gasp before drawing to a close.
‘I See The Light!’ closes the album with a meditative reflection, like finding resolve in the chaos as a part of it. It’s delicate bubbling pads and serene melodies suggest peace and acceptance but the sadness looming beneath the surface lingers as a reminder or a realisation of some greater, affecting truth.
Through Descent Into Madness and Light! Joy! Ascent! I See Stars in Your Heart, Brother Saturn has crafted a solid story of personal exploration, trauma and discovery. The two albums fit together as one beautiful cohesive whole but can and also should be enjoyed as separate works that individually offer a wealth of ideas to the listener.