Local Review: imp – In The Garden
Local Music Reviews
In The Garden
imp = Perila – Laurel Halo (Raw Silk Uncut Wood)
“A collection of reverent hymns both bittersweet and somber that accompany our hero on her path of vengeance,” imp informs listeners on their bandcamp page. Not a whole lot of information is available about this reclusive artist, which automatically intrigues me. The 60-minute LP begins with “Brighter Echoes,” and, right away, I’m curious about this choice of musical style. The song’s translucent tone is mysterious, a perfect introduction leading to the rising action: “Spirit in the Ruins.” For sure, there’s depth in the track—a visceral sensation ringing through with similarities to the relaxing first track. Its melody is incredibly familiar to me—something I’ve heard before—Maria Davidon’s “Day Dreaming?” The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “Second Sighting?” I don’t know. It’s superb.
“Abundant Growth” and “Forest Altar” each seem like they are on a constant loop, the same holistic layers repeating over and over. Static. At this point, it’s getting aimless, deserted and hollow. In need of a twist. It’s not exactly rich in activity or movement. Luckily, “Bits of Lavender & Sage” gives the listener more to chew with chant-like vocals and dense, repetitive beats. I feel like I am either on the edge of this plot structure or still trudging up the ladder. One can easily play this baby on repeat and have no idea of differentiating where it starts and where it ends. Impressive? To an extent, yes. However, the general claim I want to give to this composition is “emptiness.”
We’re finally at the climax with “Mystic Leaves,” providing triumphant synths and seemingly prideful pitches. There’s a feeling of epiphany, of ownership, of accomplishment. There is feeling, and it continues in “Fragmented Beams.” What do I think is the path of vengeance for the hero? I couldn’t tell you. Although, that’s primarily the endgame of this album: the apparent separation between Me and the Artist (musician, maker, creator, whatever). There’s nothing intimate or moving about the music. “Eroding Precipice,” fine. “Hollowed Bark;” possibly the falling action. Nothing riveting or exciting. Serene, sure. Quaint? OK. Specifically the last two songs, “Red Soil” and “Moonlit Slumber.” Of course there’s something—maybe a resolution. But I couldn’t tell you. Not me.
Ann Quin (who annotated her own diary and made it a book. Fucking genius!) wrote: “I seemed to be on the interior within forms and shadows—wondering when they become real: not knowing who’s the medium for whom. medium for their mediums. Whether I was Feeling myself in a world of forms.” This sums up my interpretation of In The Garden. I liked it, but I couldn’t tell you what I liked other than myself thinking about what I was hearing. Would you call that art? A form? Self-obsessed? An album I’d give 8/10? Of course, of course, of course. It’s all we do. –Kassidy Waddell