Good heavens ‘ five years go by ‘ whatcan one do? Dive, listener, knowing that your next hour will be filled withdiversions aplenty: a wheeling circuit of sci-fi sea-shanties and cavalierballads, narrated from parts unknown; a family of polysemic song-sets; aparanomasaic Liederkreis of harmonic sympathies and knotted hierarchies; afanfare of brazen puns and martial lullabies, blazing in sorrow and horseplayand love, in turns symphonic and spare, joined by Mellotrons and Marxophonesand Moogs, clavichords and celestas’and of course the harp, thrumming itsthrenodies of circadian invasions and avian irruptions and strange loops ofShepard-toned resonant-frequencies and something called goddamnedSimulacreage… The music of Divers is a wonder of considered arrangements ‘ a taut line,threaded with the pearls of passed and passing times…a round, a chant, anincantation…a ray of light diverted eleven ways, into eleven songs thatstriate, in chromatic collusion, their simultaneous arc…a span that takes inlifetimes, but is immaculately sequenced for telescoped brevity. The musicspeeds with dissociative dread over montaged cityscapes; it hoofs with delightamong the collaged quotations and sepia-toned codices of Popular Song; it amblesits carefree citational course through the public domain and down into thedustier corners of municipal parks, to lionize infamous airmen and anonymousDutch Masters, to mourn pearl divers and Poorwills, and to elegize theineluctable tragedy of relativity ‘ a tragedy of parochial time, anecdotaltime, dubious time… At the center of the mythos and the maelstrom is thewoman. Divers reminds us that Newsom is a melodist, above all ‘ an acolyte of melody and beauty inform, a crackerjack of emotional truth conveyed with undiluted immediacy. ‘TheThings I Say’ seems a naked admission, after the epic swales of war and peacethat precede it, and yet this sudden moment of piano and voice falls seamlesslyinto the flow, buffeted by the haunting winds of a musical saw andtime-slipping reversal at the finish. …so that, at the aortic confluence ofsuch a complexity of strings and wires, winking beneath the lacquered layers ofinstrumental nacre, biding quietly between the ranges ofrhapsodicarrangement’including those by Nico Muhly, Ryan Francesconi, Dave Longstreth, Dan Cantrell, and Newsom herself ‘ there lies an intimacy seldom achieved, and simplyheard. Divers dives forth with a pure love and respect for the traditionsand mysteries of man, such that we can feel the surge of life itself passingover our bones as we hear the songs and sounds, the players ‘ among them Kevin Barker, Peter Newsom, Neal Morgan,and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra ‘and the arrangements; as basic maths are reviewed to uncover heights of joy andsorrow, all traced in triumphal arches and supernumerary rainbows througheternal amber, gleaming in analog entrapment ‘ with that VOICE riding highatop; the vast embodiments and boundless refinements of her singing suffusedamid the tidal intake and outtake of cellulose acetate ‘ recorded withsnow-bright, high-noonverity by Steve Albini and Noah Georgeson, mixed inmphantasmagoric, deep-seasaturation by Noah and Joanna,and loosed, ******in’ FINALLY, on October 23rd by Drag City Records. We havereached Peak Newsom. Divers is coming, to incline into your many and varied lifelines,for now and then and the rest of the moments that mwill always return in yourlifetimes again. Disc 1 1. Anecdotes 2. Sapokanikan 3. Leaving the City 4. Goose Eggs 5. Waltz of the 101st Lightborne 6. The Things I Say Disc 2 1. Divers 2. Same Old Man 3. You Will Not Take My Heart Alive 4. A Pin-Light Bent 5. Time, as a Symptom
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