Black Sea Dahu - White Creatures - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Black Sea Dahu - White Creatures

by Bill Golembeski Rating:10 Release Date:2018-10-12
Black Sea Dahu - White Creatures
Black Sea Dahu - White Creatures

White Creatures is an album of Earthen density that, somehow, manages to defy the whims of gravity.

This is a record of urban folk music, with a very Mediterranean vibe.

Now, I have never been one to write with Greek Mythological metaphors, but my friend, Kilda Defnut, says that “these are the songs that Eurydice sadly sang in the aftermath of Orpheus’ forbidden backward glance.”1

I don’t know about that, but I’ll simply agree with singer-songwriter (and main gravitational force in the band) Janine Cathrein, as she sings, “The ghosts are dancing.” Indeed, and those shades dance in the infinite spaces between the thick autumnal notes of this music.

It all begins with the brief instrumental “Intro,” which is ancient beauty etched with cello, an Eastern-tinged guitar, and a moody wordless voice. And the canvas is set.

The title track, “White Creatures,” ensues with Janine’s deep voice, now with introspective lyrics, and with the magical addition of the ensemble—sinewy guitar, dark bass, ethereal keyboards, and absolutely sympathetic percussion. The song defies those whims of gravity and then is given a pause, only to be resurrected with a reprised cinematic pulse that has technicolor to burn.

“The Core” is sharper in its cello tone. The melody hangs upon the edge of the known world. The guitar bites at the air, while Nick Furrer’s percussion enlarges the magic, only to find some sort of relief in sudden (almost) tribal hand claps set against brother Simon’s cello and sister Vera and Paul Marki’s piercing guitars. Again, this music is all about ancient mythological beauty.

Just an observation: I suppose this music a distant cousin to The Dead Can Dance’s brilliant album Aion, but this is much more accessible and less clouded in Medieval reverb mystery. And quite frankly, Janine’s voice is somewhat similar to the great Tanita Tikaram, whose album Ancient Heart exudes a similar exotic folky charm. Not only that (and this is stretching my international Super Terrific Happy Hour really important music critic’s street cred), but this music is somewhat similar to the slurred beauty and elastic bluesy folk (mixed with some weird nectar) of the master musician and songwriter John Martyn during his (absolutely brilliant) One World/Grace & Danger period. It’s just an idea, but all great music is probably nothing more than some sweet little mystery that makes me cry.

Or, perhaps, something like that.

“Take Stock of What I Have” may be the center piece of the album. The song includes the before-mentioned “ghosts” that “are dancing.” This is urban folk-soul. This music urges and tickles the tides by moving the moon.

And then the album stretches toward its finale. “Pure” is slow and spacious. It sings about “holding your breath.” Yet, somehow, the tune urges the will to breathe. The tune simply begs for patience. But then “In Case I Fall for You” is oddly up-tempo and definitely a nice change in pace. The moon is still being moved, but now it’s dancing to an (almost) reggae hymn on the urban street corners of the universe. And the song has a grand final exit, with an exclamation point of a nice guitar snarl.

“My Dear” is folky acoustic simplicity. You know, HAL 9000, the computer from Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, would never comprehend its beauty. But deep-space astronaut Dave Bowman, at the end of the movie in that weird white room, while he ages and eats quiet meals, would certainly understand the humanity of the song.

And in the end, “Big Mouth” is soulful and acoustic direct. It’s the dart to the dartboard heart. It’s bullseye music. It’s music with space; it’s music with blues and soul; and then the drums propel the tune to a winning rendezvous which chimes in sonic unity with a lovely guitar which plays to the audio audience of the universe.  

Ironically, this may well be the music of Orpheus, even though, according to my friend, Kilda Defnut, these are the songs of lost Euridice. But, ultimately, it’s also the music of those Greek gods Pluto and his stolen queen Persephone because, just like life, they certainly enjoy the chanced spring tune with a charmed and hopeful melody, but they will always have their fateful way, with notes that descend into darkness, a darkness that longs for summer, and a darkness in which dear Eurydice will always sing songs—just like these tunes—that hover in the sad youthful memories of the always melodic rock ’n’ roll under world.

 

1For the non-practicing Greek Mythologists: Orpheus’ true love, Eurydice, was held in Underworld by the rather nasty Hades (aka Pluto). Apparently after their wedding, fair Eurydice was out dancing with the Nymphs (as one often does) and was bitten by a snake, whereupon she instantly died, and of course, ended up in dark Hades (the place, not the guy). But Orpheus, being the greatest musician ever, sang a few songs that were really sad. And, boy, they were really sad songs. They even charmed that three-headed dog Cerberus (which is not an easy thing to do), and then the tunes “melted the heart” of Hades (the guy not the place). So, as the story goes, Orpheus was allowed to take fair Eurydice out of the Underworld cave, but, and it was specified in the fine print, that she would follow him and he could not look back. Well, I ask, what would any true lyre-strumming teenager do? Of course, he sneaked a peek. And the rest is (sort of) history.  

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