Published Nov 29, 2013If you're familiar with the music of USX/US Christmas, you've heard Meghan Mulhearn's violin, the instrument that dominates Oblivion Songs, her latest solo release. The five tracks here follow up an experimental "26 Minutes" collaboration with drone artist Villages, but offer much more (though still not quite) conventional song structures and arrangements. Each composition builds with its own particular progression of intensity, combining layers and loops in fluid but uneasy motion.
"Leave" is the opening catalyst, a slow elegy of violin countermelodies resonating in slightly dissonant harmony, the escalating tension of its instrumentation developing in contrast to the steady calm of Mulhearn's voice. "Midwest" is more lyrical, insistent, and percussive, a tribal drumbeat accompanying a striking/strumming playing style, the rhythm echoed by the addition of wordless vocal harmonies here and there. The next track, "The Prayer" (an instrumental) is by far the heaviest of the five, moving toward a feverish pitch with faster-paced phrases, along with amplification, distortion and more low-end weight, combining in a complex wave that crests after more than five-and-a-half-minutes to quickly recede.
From here on in, Divine Circles' sound moves closer to that of an alt country band, "Ingenue" blending industrial-tinged percussion with reverb-drenched chords, and the violin on "Hymn" approaching pure fiddle. Oblivion Songs is dark without being gloomy, its dissonance suggesting a willingness to embrace an ever-present tension rather than seeking catharsis or resolution. (Paradigms Recordings)