Album Review :
The Soil & The Sun - Meridian

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Artist: The Soil & The Sun
Title: Meridian
Label: Audiotree Music
Release Date: 08/19/14
Reviewer: Josh Hamm

Tracklisting:

  1. Intro
  2. Are You?
  3. How Long
  4. Push Push
  5. Samyaza
  6. World We Used To Know
  7. Human/Machine
  8. Leviathan
  9. Sundar Singh
  10. Lost Lovers
  11. Oiketerion
  12. The Physics of Immortality

There is some music which drowns out the white noise of my thoughts and cascades through me with more force than I ever expect it to.  Music is a constant presence in my life, but it is not often that I will set aside an hour or two in a day to sit back and simply listen – not while writing, or surfing the internet, or playing games, but to close my eyes and focus on the music itself. Meridian is one of those albums which, once I heard it, deserved its own time.

The “Intro” glides into “Are You?” as a playful wind moves through a forest. Gently, yet as if it is coaxing life out of its hiding place, the song stirs up timeless thoughts as it asks simple questions (which are deceivingly complex) about the presence of God: “Were you in the fire? / Did you pass me by?  / Will I always wonder why? / Are you in disguise? / Are you undefined? / Should I look into the light?” These are not merely questions to ask in a detached, intellectual approach – as they permeate the song’s identity, so too they permeate our own. The easiest way to make sense of Meridian is to embrace its mysticism. Words coil around visions and wrap themselves up in questions, stories, and cryptic aphorisms until interpretation is pointless. Not that their songs are meaningless, or esoteric; rather, to dissect them would be to miss the point.

The album can pivot from moments of sheer, wordless beauty (“Human/Machine”) to ethereal bursts of controlled frenetic energy (“Leviathan”), grand, minimalist epic (“World We Used To Know”) to the heavy, dark progression of “Samyaza” and “Oikerterion.” It is seventy minutes of breathtaking visions of grandeur, plumbing the spiritual abyss of questions with only a semblance of an answer, all with a spacey, anthemic experimental folk-rock that defies categorization. At its core, Meridian is experiential music, designed for complete immersion, unlike too many albums which are content for you to wade through.

Overall: A kaleidoscope of space age folk rock, Meridian leads its listeners through its grand world before leaving them there, lost and awash in The Soil & The Sun’s expansive soundscape. Even as the album seamlessly transitions, rolling and crashing into the next song as necessary, each song traverses its own expansive territory. In an era where the conceptual album is perhaps king, Meridian is an album of conceptual songs, covering large swathes of musical ground and lyrical searching in each title.

RIYL: Seryn, Sufjan Stevens, Anathallo, Fleet Foxes, We Are The City

 

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