Earlier this year, Milwaukee was treated to a preview of the wistful, lilting, and desperately needed mystical sounds of Mere Of Light. The song “Moon From A Well” was a harp-laden hymn filled with images of soft nettle beds and “catnip and clover,” gifted to the weary and worn-down world by Milwaukee musician Elise McArdle. Now, as the universe continues to grind any hopes of happiness into dust, McArdle is back with a full Mere Of Light EP, Fell Tales. Thank goodness.
“The five-track EP uses field recordings and poetic lyricism to draw connections between the current world and fantasy realms,” explains McArdle, who also performs with dream-pop group Cream Vellum, and who handles harp, synth, and vocal duties here. (Eddie Chapman of Guass contributes some guitar work.) Opener “Bower Of Bliss,” McArdle says, “draws on lore from Edmund Spenser’s 1590 poem ‘The Faerie Queene.’ The song pays tribute to Acrasia, Phaedra, Circe, and other historically villainized temptress Queens.”
The songs “Lethe (Mirette)” and “Lethe (Oblivion)” use the language of fable to talk about industrialization. These songs sample archive audio from Rust Belt mining and dam building projects and intersperse them with harp and synth loops.
We’re also partial to “Soaked In Static,” which luxuriates in McArdle’s hybrid world and features a curious spoken-word outro drawing connections between electronic circuitry and the human body. Perfect.
Mere Of Light will celebrate the release of Fell Tales with a show at the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts on Saturday, August 21. Poet Annie Grizzle and experimental artist C. Vadi will perform in support. Any profits collected through cassette sales or donations will go to Diverse & Resilient and the Giniw Collective.
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