|Esmerine — Mechanics Of Dominion (20 Oct. 2017)|
Esmerine — Mechanics Of Dominion (20 Oct. 2017)♣ Juno~winning Canadian chamber group Esmerine’s sixth album channels the existential and environmental dread of their Montreal neighbors and labelmates, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, through a state of graceful introversion not unlike that of an old peer in modern chamber music, Rachel’s, from Louisville, Kentucky. Esmerine refines the art of breaking hearts on new album Dalmak.
♣ Splinter group Esmerine is a chamber rock ensemble formed by Bruce Cawdron and Beckie Foon, members of Godspeed You Black Emperor! and A Silver Mt. Zion, respectively.
Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Genre: Neo~Classical, Minimalist, Modern Contemporary, Folk, Baroque, Jazz and Rock
Album release: 20 October 2017
Recorded: Istanbul, Montreal
Record Label: Constellation
1 The Space in Between 3:46
2 La Lucha Es Una Sola 8:27
3 La Pénombre 4:30
4 La Plume Des Armes 5:16
5 Que Se Vayan Todos! 5:39
6 Mechanics of Dominion 7:28
7 Northeast Kingdom 7:00
8 Piscibus Maris 2:40
=> Esmerine is the modern chamber ensemble co~founded by former Silver Mt. Zion member Rebecca Foon and Godspeed You! Black Emperor alumnus Bruce Cawdron in the early 2000s, composing two beloved albums of post~rock based around cello and mallet instruments on Madrona Records in 2003 and 2005. The group emerged from a semi-hiatus in 2010 and have made four acclaimed full-length records of uniquely emotive, lyrical, exploratory instrumental music since then (all released by Constellation) — each marked by a distinct collaborative and thematic agenda.
=> Following the Turkish/near~Eastern exchange featured on Dalmak (2014 Juno winner for Instrumental Album Of The Year) and the intense, rock~inflected Lost Voices (2016 Juno winner for Album Package Of The Year and finalist for Instrumental Album), Esmerine embarked on a soundtrack commission for the National Film Board documentary “Freelancer on the Front Lines” (about independent journalism in the Middle East), which also led to a deep dive into archival and previously unreleased recordings from the band’s aforementioned early years. Sessions for the film soundtrack kept rolling organically throughout 2016~2017 (alongside Foon’s own work on her Saltland solo project, whose second album came out in March 2017), informed by anxiety over the reactionary, regressive, seemingly irresolvable disharmony of human oppression/domination, falsifying propaganda and ever~accelerating degradation and denial of nature and social justice.
=> Mechanics Of Dominion is perhaps Esmerine’s most dynamic and narratively~informed work, tracing an arc through Neo~Classical, Minimalist, Modern Contemporary, Folk, Baroque, Jazz and Rock idioms to invoke lamentation, meditation, resolve, resistance and hope. It is a requiem for our intractably suffering planet and a paean to the inscrutable, essential dignity of indigenous ethics and the natural world, and to modern human frailty and ingenuity.
=> Stylistically, Mechanics Of Dominion brings mallet instruments to the fore, with marimba, glockenspiel, piano and amplified music box providing a prominent foundation and through~line on the album’s diverse tracks. Multi~instrumentalist Brian Sanderson’s contributions are also an ever greater part of Esmerine’s songwriting — his stately melodic lines on horns and acoustic strings are formidable elements in the ceremonious lyricism and keening vitality of this song cycle.
=> Mechanics Of Dominion is also another superlative iteration in Esmerine’s dedication to artwork and packaging, this time featuring the work of Montréal artist Jean~Sebastien Denis to beautifully echo the album’s compositional balance of abstraction, tension and emotional colourations.
By Ian King / 16 OCTOBER 2017, 11:22 BST / Score: 8
Boomkat Product Review:
=> Following the Turkish collaboration of Dalmak and the more rock~inflected Lost Voices, Esmerine embarked on a soundtrack commission for the National Film Board documentary “Freelancer on the Front Line” (about independent journalism in the Middle East), which also led to a deep dive into archival and previously unreleased recordings.
=> Sessions for the film soundtrack provided various seeds for a new album concept and composing/recording continued rolling into early 2017, informed by anxiety over the reactionary, regressive, seemingly irresolvable disharmony of human oppression/domination and the ever~accelerating degradation / denial of nature and social justice. Stylistically, Mechanics Of Dominion took shape with mallet instruments brought more to the fore (relative to Esmerine’s previous two outings): marimba, piano and amplified music box provide a more prominent through~line on this new album’s otherwise quite diverse material. Multiinstrumentalist Brian Sanderson’s contributions also continue to shape Esmerine’s songwriting to an ever greater extent — his stately melodic lines on horns and acoustic strings are bracing, compelling elements in the ceremonious lyricism and keening vitality of this new song cycle. And the album revisits and further develops two previously recorded and heretofore unreleased pieces (the origins of the modernist piano, string and horn piece “Northeast Kingdom” date back to some of Esmerine’s earliest recordings in the mid~2000s; the sizzling free~improv of “¡Que Se Vayan Todos!” was captured during the Dalmak sessions.)
=> Mechanics Of Dominion is perhaps Esmerine’s most dynamic and narratively~driven work, tracing an arc through Neo/Post~Classical, Minimalism, Modern Contemporary, Folk, Jazz, Baroque and Rock idioms to paint a soundtrack of lamentation, meditation, resolve, resistance and hope. It is Esmerine’s humble requiem for our intractably suffering planet and a paean to the inscrutable, essential dignity of indigenous ethics and the natural world. Mechanics Of Dominion is also another superlative example of Esmerine’s acclaimed and award~winning dedication to album artwork and packaging, this time featuring the work of Montreal artist Jean~Sebastien Denis in beautiful resonance with the album’s balance of stylistic tensions and emotional colourations.”
=> “Careful, elegant, cerebral and quietly stirring.” — The Wire
=> “Mechanics of Dominion is a bold, gripping and brilliantly nuanced addition to Esmerine’s gorgeous catalogue, swelling with hope and brimming with energy.” — Exclaim 9/10
=> “The Juno~winning Canadian chamber group’s sixth album channels existential and environmental dread through a state of graceful introversion not unlike that of an old peer in modern chamber music, Rachel’s.” — Line Of Best Fit • Album Of The Week
=> “Constellation Records continues to be on a tear, the latest Esmerine record its crown jewel. Throughout the set, there is such beauty.” — A Closer Listen
=> “Minimalistic in its outlook and yet with rich instrumentation, traditional in both its inclusion of classical and folk influences and still forward~thinking and experimental. The subtlety of the melodies, and the expansive power they hold, are responsible for Esmerine’s tour de force.” — PopMatters 8/10
=> “Esmerine don’t hold anything back on their latest album; they’re at their most intense. Their songcraft has been elevated once again. Mechanics Of Dominion is a mood~winger, breaking through the sobering walls of tragedy and despair until it reaches a place of relief and the sunrise of a small smile.” — Fluid Radio
=> “Esmerine’s style is a music genre of itself. Mechanics of Dominion is a marvelous release and when it gets you with its overwhelming concept and brilliant execution you can’t help but play it again.” — Echoes And Dust
|Esmerine — Mechanics Of Dominion (20 Oct. 2017)|