Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mirrorring - Foreign Body

Before you decry my will to check out singer-songwriter music from the west coast as being "hipster," I suggest you actually listen to some of it. This kind of music can be pretty intricate, emotive, and is very leisurely to listen to.

Mirrorring are labeled by some as a dreampop band and I don't see that at all. Made up of Jesy Fortino of Tiny Vipers and Liz Harris of Grouper, this album blends folk sounds with psychedelic new/no/ethereal/whatever-the-fuck-wave music. The result is a surprisingly heavy record titled Foreign Body, and the whole thing feels quite dreamlike. Perhaps that's where the misnomer dreampop came from.

There's just a single, traditionally structured track on Foreign Body. It's relatively deep-voiced Fortino's gorgeous "Silent From Above," which reeks of mournful nostalgia. Other tracks all follow differing structures, some taking influence from the artist's previous work, and some from other subgenres. "Cliffs" for example borrows heavily from post rock. It builds from a simple, repetitive acoustic intro into a densely layered middle with an electro-ambient conclusion. The result is impressive and evokes a sweeping panorama of the Great Basin and its harsh climate. "Mine" is probably the strongest track on the album, with rising electronic harmonies and some great vocal interplay between the duo halfway through. Harris' electronics envelop the track, subtly building tension that is never quite resolved. It's quite disconcerting.

In fact the entire album pretty much feels like falling asleep and then having a bout of sleep paralysis. Closer "Mirror Of Our Sleeping" really touches upon the feeling of waking up weary and anxious, and then going back to sleep in the middle of the night. Something about it sounds so troubled, yet complacent in how lost it is.

The production throughout Foreign Body is filled with haze and a heavy dose of reverb. Each pluck of a string by Fortino feels like it's amplified and echoed through a tunnel of ions created by Harris. Yes, that was a Wormed reference that I somehow managed to work into this review, and no I won't do that again. Anyway while it fits the theme of the album, I don't think ambient droner "Drowning The Call" works so well in context. Luckily the more straightforward and somber "Silent From Above" had come earlier or else I probably would've felt the same way about it. There are a few plucked guitar melodies that add some texture to what feels like a smooth electronic track that goes nowhere with its sound. One of the few times the dynamic doesn't quite work out in the duo's favor.

For the most part though, Foreign Body is a powerful piece of work. Soothing electronics and vocals, building song dynamics, and a (blatant) dreamlike atmosphere make it a more complex and multi-dimensional release when compared to some of Fortino and Harris' previous efforts (at least from what I've heard - which is quite limited).

7.75 out of 10

1. Fell Sound
2. Silent From Above
3. Cliffs
4. Drowning The Call
5. Mine
6. Mirror Of Our Sleeping

Listen // Buy


  1. Nice. Glad to see you're doing so many blogs! Definitely going to check some of these out.

    By the way, have you been able to obtain a copy of "Oblivion" by Emptiness anywhere? Based on what I've heard on Youtube it's phenomenal but gog damn I can't find it anywhere.

  2. Thanks. I've been trying to get back into the blogging game recently with 2013 looking great for music and whatnot.

    Oblivion sounded great when I listened to parts of it last summer. I tried looking for it after I heard Error, but there was nothing I could find. I assume that's still the case.

  3. Ah, too bad.

    If I ever do find it I'll give you a link.