The debut collaboration between Marielle V Jakobsons and Chuck Johnson wafts in on waves of country ambiance. Over layers of nebulous, enveloping tones Chuck Johnson’s slide guitar pulses through like a beacon. His auburn tones navigate the environments that Jakobsons creates with a steadfast resolve, giving us some hope of not becoming lost in the shadows and shade that his partner seems to conjure out of thin air. Jakobsons has long been creating landscapes that seem built from vapor and vision – operating under her own name and prior to that as Date Palms. Those records are all monuments to ambient light on their own, but with Johnson she seems to have created something majestic by even her standards.
There’s been a tendency of late, when creating works that skew towards the ambient, post-classical, and instrumentally exploratory, to inject a sense of anxiety and dread into the record. I suppose it’s a reflection of the time the records are being made in. It’s hard not to feel the erosion of truth next to the erosion of land itself in in the tenor of the notes in many contemporary works, but there’s another feeling in Saariselka’s The Ground Our Sky — equilibrium. The record is at peace, not complacent, but enlightened. As the listener navigates the bucolic, yet bewildering landscapes of their record there’s a sense of ease that sweeps over the record. When Johnson’s amber light shines a path towards Jakobson’s vocals (seldom as they appear) she seems to float above swaddled in light and love, wiping away all the tension that laps at our everyday experiences. This is Cosmic Americana stripped to its core, set float and let everything beneath your feet crumble away for another time.
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