Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Hiemal - Shoreline Inertia.

Album: Shoreline Inertia
Artist: Hiemal
Label: Self-released
Catalogue no: N/A

     1.      Shoreline Inertia

I have always been fascinated by edgelands and margins, those liminal transition zones and dimensions which are neither one nor the other, yet simultaneously both. As an example I can cite the very outer margins of a town or city, where built-up areas give way to the rural. Where is the exact point at which one becomes the other? Is there a thin sliver where it’s neither, or a combination of both? Seen in the abstract, even the present moment we live in is a kind of liminality, as it exists briefly between the past and the future. Hiemal’s latest release is focused on another such zone, the thin stretch that divides the land from the sea. It has its parallel perhaps in the diffuse zone between atmosphere and the vacuum of outer space, at least in one obvious respect; one side is essential to our well-being, the other side completely inimical to it without artificial aids. However in both instances there’s an indefinable transition zone where it could be argued that the qualities of both sides are intermixed, a rarefied belt of some intangible existence where the normal rules don’t apply.

Where does Hiemal fit into all this, you may wonder? Shoreline Inertia focuses on that very liminal space betwixt land and sea, that tiny sliver of geology that is both real and imaginary. The single album-length composition, lasting a little over an hour, is essentially an experimental ambient piece, consisting of ever-evolving drones set against a backdrop of waves lapping a shoreline. The waves do duty in anchoring us to reality while defining the zone’s limits and the exact point where the transition between one state and the other is at its most intertwined: the soaring orchestral vibes connect us with the latent possibilities suggested by the existence of the marginal space. When you really think about it, this is the very point at which land-based life came to be, where the first sea-creatures evolved into air-breathing animals. If for no other reason than that, the notion that it isn’t a magical place can be dismissed.

The soaring drones are like a billowing curtain of glimmering auroral light, a barrier hanging at the exact intersection between here and there. It’s a demarcation, a wall of flimsy, fluttering gauze that nevertheless sends a strong message declaring that ‘beyond this point everything is different’. It is at once a physical and spiritual boundary, a signal saying, yes you can pass through, but its deeper mysteries and secrets will be forever beyond your reach. It is vital and alive, animated by processes and biological systems alien to anything we would be familiar with. The waters on its other side contain a dimension of myth and fantasy embedded within it (‘Here be monsters’), a globe-spanning liquid inner space as unknown to us as the furthest galaxy, and yet the extent of its virility and potency is prodigious.

This is the species of music for those times when you catch yourself between moments, when you’re on the verge of some revelation, or more prosaically when you seek some lilting sounds to accompany your meditations/guided visions/occult practises. It’s soothing, of course, plunging you into the womblike waters of Mother Earth, or perhaps lofting you into the rarefied region of the exosphere, but that I think is its ultimate purpose. It’s warm here, nurturing, and comforting, invoking ancestral memories perhaps of our prehistoric point of origin in the long ago aeons of the past. I suggest that you let yourself float along with whatever currents it sends you along, embrace the power inherent in those streams, and let its deep wisdom wash over you. There’s plenty to discover here, on both the inner and outer levels.

Available as a digital download at the link below:

Psymon Marshall 2019. 

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