The Seven Fields of Aphelion

Periphery

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The Seven Fields of Aphelion is, indeed, the full performing pseudonym of one of the key members of Black Moth Super Rainbow, and one might imagine that her full solo debut would be something in the vein of the playfully strange (and sometimes very sugary sweet) psychedelic whimsy of that band. But Periphery is something else again, an elegant exercise in sound (along with her own photography featured in the album artwork) that is far more suggestive of documentary soundtracks from the late '70s and early '80s, a mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation to match dreamy images of nature and technology as featured in her photography. A strange comparison perhaps, but with vocals fully eschewed throughout and her piano taking the fore more often than not, the resultant series of songs on Periphery almost immediately calls to mind Harold Budd's solo and collaborative work on that instrument. The deep echo on the opening "Slow Subtraction" sets the tone from the start, but the addition of synths as well adds an extra touch of futuristic serenity, audible in the swoops on "Grown" and especially in the blend of the two on "Mountain Mary," a simply wonderful piece that sums up the album and the appeal of this approach all at once. The swirling pattern of tones on "Saturation : Arrhythmia" is no less compelling (though despite the title, it's quite rhythmic at base). Meanwhile, the moody yet extremely beautiful drones on "Pale Prophecy" and "Fever Sleep" add a haunted edge to the album without turning into a dark listen.

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