We’ve all dealt with loss in one way or another. Whether that was the passing of a loved one, employment being taken away, or a devastating defeat, something at one time or another has impacted us greatly and left us wondering about ourselves. It’s not the easiest or most comfortable time, yet the event is not without something that could result in positive personal or psychological value.
How one copes with or reacts to loss can determine how the event ultimately affects the rest of your existence. That’s the driving theme of “The World Unseen,” the great new album from Mamiffer that just might be the gentlest Pick of the Week to date. But that’s just from the way the music feels, as the thematic material packs a massive punch and can have you reeling. But no worries, as there are plenty of places to land and collect yourself before taking another huge step into this adventure. Over these eight tracks, the band–Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner–expand what they describe as a “conceptual and liminal document of numinous connection through an experience with loss.” And here’s the thing: Even if you go into this record with no clue what is packed deep within the music, you’re bound to have an emotional experience. It’s impossible not to do so with Mamiffer’s music, but this one especially sweeps you away and onto other planes for exploration.
Mamiffer was first born nearly a decade ago as an outlet for Coloccia after her band Everloving Lightningheart dissolved. She began to work with Turner (you know him from ISIS, Old Man Gloom, Sumac, etc.), and they released their debut “Hirror Enniffer” in 2008. They followed that with “Mare Decendrii” in 2011 and “Statu Nascend” two years ago, and they also have collaborated with artists including House of Low Culture and Pyramids. Mamiffer certainly are no strangers to ambitious, heady material, but what they lay out on “The World Unseen” takes them, and as a result, the listener, further than ever before. Prepare to be affected.
“By the Light of My Body” is a short cut that starts the record with sounds settling, a haze spreading itself, and a dreamy sequence that leads into “Flower of the Field II.” There, pianos drip, Coloccia’s vocals set up softly, pushing the song on its way, and noise rises and pulsates. “It’s time I let you go away,” Coloccia calls, as she’s backed by a spacey sequence that makes your brain cells simmer in static. “13 Burning Stars” lives up to its name nicely, with Coloccia’s voice working its way over some more agitated noise. Winds begin to whip up, while ghostly melodies reach the height of their haunting powers and send the track into the stars. “Mara” opens with psychedelic keys, strings stinging and lingering, and the vocals taking on some New Age power. The melodies are lovely and infectious, and the song takes on a woodsy ambiance as it closes.
Three-movement “Domestication of the Ewe” follows, a nearly 27-minute section that makes up the heart of the record. The first part, which runs 10:03, starts with a long stretch of drone that melts into cosmic bubbling. This portion feels otherworldly, like you’re floating among foreign bodies, and static and noise combine to give this portion a sharper edge. The track starts to sprawl and bleed, ringing out and burning into the second part. Pianos bleed in, and the strings (courtesy of Eyvind Kang) cry out with the interference wailing. Guitars warm up and buzz, and angelic sounds spread over into the third, and final, movement. Choral chants emerge, and Geneviève Beaulieu (Menace Ruine) and Joe Preston (Thrones) join their voices with Coloccia’s as a ceremonial feel takes over. The singing blending together causes hypnosis, while harsher sounds start clawing and noise shines as the triptych reaches its end point. Closer “Parthenogenesis” is the perfect last step, a song that is infused with space noise whooshing, heavenly vocals reinforcing the elements of spiritual and psychological connection with what has been lost, and the track disappearing into the fog.
Mamiffer have been a personal favorite of mine for a long time, a band that’s great for winding down from the chaos, balancing out of the heavy stuff normally in my ears, and helping me reconnect. “The World Unseen” pokes at subject matter that’s not always comfortable and perhaps can make you fret, but it always closes the circle emotionally. This is another amazing piece of work from a band that never fails to keep your heart pounding in your chest and your mind soaring.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Mamiffer-110768695615501/
To buy the album, go here: https://sigerecords.merchtable.com/?no_redirect=true
For more on the label, go here: http://sigerecords.blogspot.com/