Black Sea Dahu — Orbit
For an introvert, finding yourself in the limelight is the equivalent of becoming an object of interest under the searing, concentrated beam passing through a magnifying lens. Add the multi-tabbed, jagged nature of touring to the mix, and depression is a very probable outcome.* With the latest EP from Black Sea Dahu, the cinematic opus titled Orbit, band leader and front woman Janine Cathrein examines the carnage wrought by a life that chose her. The material is heavier than anything the group has recorded previously, but it also reaches redemptive / ecstatic heights the band had not scaled to date. In other words, it's music as salve – tuned to the soul’s full dynamic range.
On the soaring, piano-driven Mind Power, Catherine addresses anxiety head-on. Whether it’s latent existential fear or the deep despair triggered by a world that seems to be tearing at the seams; dealing with the carnage of a relationship or the trauma induced by nearly drowning (a surfing accident), she speaks to a feeling that is “like having a vice closing around your throat.” Yet, like the rest of the songs, this one crescendos into an empowering anthem; and it peaks on the words “if you knew the things that we could rise above.” Film music meets drum circle meets opera – what is genre anyway? Orbit has that Ganesha push-through-any-obstacle type of energy, yet it talks about years of dealing with insomnia and heavy bouts of anxiety brought about by a gruesome touring schedule. But, it also speaks to the power of music and how it allows a musician to transmute these type of experiences into something that’s not only beautiful, but healing. Le Temps Se Fuit is a meditation on the nature of time, as well as the uncanny feeling of being in a million places simultaneously (sound familiar?). Based on a montage of memories set to a slippery, buoyant arrangement, the song swells as it gets brighter by the beat. My Guitar is too Loud rocks! And it fucking rocks hard! Stadium-type hard! It came to Catherine fully formed, with the I-don’t-give-fuck about anything attitude and all. The song was inspired by a real-life incident: a run-in with a psychologically abusive neighbour that almost got Cathrein evicted from her apartment. It’s an anthem for survivors and the type of tune that will remind you to keep your spine straight when you’re really going through it!
Sonically, this is the chunkiest Black Sea Dahu release to date. Cathrein is not coy about her ambitions to write for the silver screen. This hunger for fleshy arrangements and the ability to play around with color is fully manifest here. The sweeping violins featured on Mind Power and Orbit were laid down by her alone (the cello played by her brother, Simon) – 10 intense days spent in the studio mimicking a full orchestra. The effect is astounding! It’s almost scary to imagine what would happen if Black Sea Dahu had access to an actual orchestra!
*Most modern-day philosophers agree that anxiety/depression is a definitive characteristic of our zeitgeist. Note: read anything by Mark Fisher.
|Black Sea Dahu
|Mouthwatering Records, Andreas Ryser
|Mouthwatering Records, Andreas (World)
|Golden Ticket, Fab (Germany / Austria)
Cabin Artists, Kai Lehman (EU/UK (Except GSA)
Orange Peel Agency, Adrian (Switzerland)