Mind Over Mirrors

Undying Color

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As Mind Over Mirrors, Jaime Fennelly (formerly of Peeesseye) uses analog synthesizers and an Indian pedal harmonium, creating swirling, pulsating drones equally informed by traditional ragas and cosmic electronic music. With 2017's Undying Color, he adds a generous helping of Americana to his list of influences. The album arrives on Paradise of Bachelors, a North Carolina-based label known for releasing music by progressive folk and country artists like Michael Chapman, Steve Gunn, and Hiss Golden Messenger, as well as Fennelly's former bandmate Chris Forsyth. Here, Fennelly is joined by a small group of musicians including Freakwater's Janet Beveridge Bean and Califone's Jim Becker, as well as experimental percussionist Jon Mueller (Collections of Colonies of Bees, Pele, Volcano Choir). The album opens with "Restore & Slip," a rollicking number with boisterous fiddle and galloping drums joining Fennelly's electronics. To anyone familiar with Mind Over Mirrors' previous albums, it sounds jarring at first, but it makes perfect sense, as the project has always seemed earthy, organic, and in tune with nature. This just makes it sound more rustic, but it already sounded human to begin with. The 12-minute epic "Gravity Wake" follows, beginning with marching drums and softly eddying synths, eventually joined by the deep, intoxicating voice of Circuit des Yeux's Haley Fohr, who sang on the previous Mind Over Mirrors album, The Voice Calling. Fohr and Bean both duet on the gorgeous, heartbreaking "Splintering." The calmly shifting synths are joined by singing bowls, and even though it sounds detached and hazy at first, there's still something immediately striking about it, and it just escalates when the two vocalists join in. Supremely haunting and beautiful. "To the Edges" has a bit of a sharper edge to its pulsating synths, and it's one of the most hypnotic pieces on the album thanks to the slowly beating bass drum and Fohr's ghostly operatic vocals. "600 Miles Around" also has rough vibrations, but they're joined by Bean's pretty echo-covered vocals, and the song becomes one of the album's most hopeful moments. Undying Color seems like a strange experiment at first, but it ends up being one of the most enjoyable releases in the Mind Over Mirrors catalog.

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