Hymn Binding marks the third full-length album by From the Mouth of the Sun, a collaboration formed in 2011 by Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist. It also marks a new zenith in the potency of their alchemic fusion of acoustic sound sources (cello, piano, acoustic guitars, lap steel, banjo, ukulele, singing bowls, and pump organ) into creations of otherworldly beauty and stirring emotion. Organic by its very nature, it is a process which Rosenqvist explains requires the musician to be willing to embrace forces over which they do not have complete control:
“There’s something very beautiful and rewarding to working with acoustic sound sources. Because when you record them, you never know what you’re going get, and you can never repeat it exactly the same way. The wood in the instrument changes from air pressure and with different temperatures. You change your sitting position from one take to another and all of a sudden it sounds slightly different. You move the microphone or you move something in the room and it sounds slightly different. Acoustic sound sources allow for chaos to be a part of the creative process, allowing for something you can never fully control.” – Dag Rosenqvist
Never have the duo sounded more comfortable in the embrace of this chaos as on these eight pristine, deeply affecting compositions. At times luminous and transcendent, at others mournful and bereft, Hymn Binding is an album which gives breath as much as it takes it away, rising and falling with the swooning arcs of Martin’s cello as they emerge from the ravishing sonic canvas to speak nothing but pure emotional truth. To choose a highlight among highlights, the devastating one-two punch delivered from the glowering power of “Risen, Darkened” followed by the healing beauty of “Roads” is one of the most astonishing musical moments I’ve experienced this year. But this is where words begin to fail. Hymn Binding is simply not to be missed.
Hymn Binding will be available from September 22 in two physical editions. One is a lacquer cut vinyl pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl, housed in a matte finished gatefold tip-on jacket with stunning artwork throughout from Gregory Euclide (300 copies) and comes with a download card offering a choice of formats including FLAC, 320K MP3. The CD edition is housed in a heavy stock, handcrafted 7″ x 5″ book-style case with glass mastered CD and also includes a download card (150 copies). The first 50 editions of both the vinyl and CD will come with a 6.5″ x 5″ print of the cover art when purchased directly through Lost Tribe.
More by From the Mouth of the Sun
Menashe (Wayfind Records)
This charming soundtrack to Joshua Z Weinstein’s acclaimed film about a widower in Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community battling for custody of his son was actually released released under Martin & Rosenqvist’s own names rather than as FTMOTS. The organic materials of their distinctive sound are fully present here, but much less densely layered and subtly scaled back to serve the narrative which tenderly “explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood”.
Into the Well [Fluid Audio]
This 2015 record which saw a customarily elaborate physical release on Fluid Audio was reviewed here previously, but bears mentioning again lest anyone new to the band’s work overlook it. The stunning eleven minute penultimate title track is perhaps one of the most elaborate pieces the duo has ever produced. Beautifully composed, layered, and performed and thanks to a cohesive conceptual vision it becomes more than the sum of its parts and a fitting homage to a brave and intrepid generation of people who took to the air.
While Martin & Rosenqvist have clearly added depth & breadth to the evolving sounds of FTMOTS, the burnish and rustic patina of this arresting 2012 debut has not diminished. As something of a newcomer to the genre around the time this was released, I would have to say “Sitting in a Roofless Room” was nothing less than pivotal in that period of reshaping my perceptions of how powerfully instrumental music could be experienced. Also worth noting three tracks from this album were selected for David Wingo’s score for Jeff Nichols’s Warner Bros. feature film ‘Midnight Special‘.