Mésange is the musical project of Agathe Max (KURO) and Luke Mawdsley (Cavalier Song), and if you follow those band links you will find that both have featured in my end of year lists before. This is the duo’s second album for God Unknown Records, and one which builds on the quiet beauty of the first.

As you would expect from musicians who are involved in those bands this is a set of songs that has significant depth to them. A cycle of tracks which engulf you… this is not music that you can have on in the background… as I’ve said many time before on these pages, just because there’s an ambience to this music it doesn’t mean that it is passive… the whole idea is that it changes the ambience… it is atmospheric… that’s powerful, not supine.

In many ways this is not an easy listen, and actually I have had these files on my hard drive for nearly two months now before getting to the moment when I can finally feel I can say something about them. This is not a bad thing, but it does suggest that you really need to sit down with ‘Gipsy Moth’ and give it your full attention because only by allowing the different layers of sound and meaning slowly crystallise in your mind are you going to fully appreciate this album. I guess that this comes back to what I was saying about depth… appreciating the deep sonic pools that these tracks seem to represent requires you to dive fully into them and experience complete aural immersion.

So this is an album of dense and intense music, but there is also a variety within this. While it is an atmospheric album, it is also one of different moods. True there is broad feeling of melancholy throughout, but beyond that there are times when there are shades of both light and dark… of greyness and colour… contrasting moods that, when taken overall, seem to achieve a sort of stasis… a balance which I find quite easy to picture, yet hard to describe.

Overall this feels like liminal music that is somehow suspended between realms… music that effects and affects you as you come into contact with it. Yet music that never quite floods into your being, always retaining that sense of otherness, and never quite finding its embodiment… and this is a reflection, not a criticism… because that seems to me to be a difficult location in which to transport someone and keep them there… because while you occupy that sort of interstitial space you are somehow away from the mundane realm, and that can only be good.

‘Gipsy Moth’ is available now from God Unknown Records.

 

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