Psymon Marshall 2019
Saturday, 10 August 2019
Purple Crow - Blue Grey.
Album: Blue Grey
Artist: Purple Crow
Catalogue no: N/A
1. Blue Grey
4. Blue Grey (Radio edit)
5. Pipe (Radio Edit)
6. Flowing (Radio edit)
You know you’re onto something when the first track (‘Blue Grey’) by this Canadian project opens with a shimmering plane of ebbing and flowing ringing tones that swing in from nowhere, hovers somewhere between your ears, and has the effect of transporting you outside yourself. You find yourself floating somewhere in the timeless interstitial spaces between being/non-being, knowing/not knowing, active/static. It’s a place where all states exist, and simultaneously where nothing happens. Here is where you swim, insensate and yet aware, existing in a condition of euphoria and beatitude, borne along by unfelt currents. All conditions pertain here: not only is there the feeling of bliss but it’s chased by an undercurrent tending towards chaos, a soft but insistent growling emerging through breaks in the roiling background. It’s not threatening, but it still carries a thrill of warning, signalling it shouldn’t be ignored.
‘Pipe’ steals in stealthily, a gentle humming occasionally broken by vibrating drones that hang suspended like motes in sunlight. As it progresses one imagines a blue sky against which white clouds drift past and evolve in slow motion, transforming, breaking apart, and reforming. Shapes and stories can read into the gradual billows and curls unfolding, expanding and contracting, revealing and hiding in a progressive unveiling. It’s a secret language, a natural one, the key to which could lift the obscuring curtain from our eyes to reveal the hidden things. Imperceptibly, however, the clouds grow greyer and darker, perhaps a note of caution that everything changes and nothing stays the same.
In the last offering ‘Flowing’, a low bass drone flies in as from a distance, a granular buzz that, swirls, gyrates, and propels itself through the stratospheric heights above our heads, perhaps an obscure call from the remote cold and frigid boundaries. It’s an all-pervasive blanket of sound, embracing and enfolding, energising and invigorating. It’s the species of drone that seeps into the skin and settles, suffusing the system with a thrilling intensity. One cannot help but feel carried along with its flow, a liberating cascade of thoughts and feelings, letting the streams propel us wither it wants to roam. It’s exhilarating yet precarious, comforting but simultaneously disconcerting.
These are scintillating creations, awash with subtle textural nuances and microtonic variations, always hovering somewhere between divine and earthy, free-flying and gravity-imprisoned. Each of the compositions lasts twenty minutes or longer, allowing each one to unfold gradually and logically, but never losing their focus or impetus. I found the suite as a whole strangely compelling, yin and yang in equal measure but with graduated shades in between. The art here though is that, despite an apparently limited palette, there’s still a sense of a broad spectrum of colour and detail, nuanced inevitably of course, but still there. I couldn’t have wished for a better introduction to the work of Purple Crow.
(The final three tracks are shortened, edited versions specifically engineered for radio broadcast, a précis if you like of the full track.)
Available as a digital download from:
Psymon Marshall 2019