Review: Diatom Deli – Time~Lapse Nature
National Music Reviews
Diatom Deli = Marina Allen + Tirzah
On her third release under the moniker Diatom Deli, Delisa Paloma-Sisk delivers a transcendental record that looks upward and reaches out to let everyone in. Time~Lapse Nature is a beautiful record. The songs sound hypnotic, ethereal and tranquil, like a leaf drifting down a cool and clear spring run-off stream that flows at its own pace. Each track overlaps effortlessly into the next, creating the illusion of one long, hushed song.
Time~Lapse Nature could easily be background music at one of those new-age stores with a koi fish pond that you shop at for crystals, tarot, incense and beads. Time~Lapse Nature is instant tranquility. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting this record for relaxation apps and meditation exercises—this record absorbs you with its beauty, but the calm and quiet has a hook and Paloma-Sisk is more than willing to reel you in. There is depth to her music, and she provides multitudes in her minimalism.
Time~Lapse Nature consists of a crisp acoustic guitar, gentle synth loops and eclectic samples. The first track, “(Intro – ttyl / Sunday’s Dying Light / (Interlude: Sense of Time),” starts with breaking glass, a door opening and a phone conversation—it feels voyeuristic. Paloma-Sisk understands the shared anxieties we all quietly hide as we emerge from lockdown and COVID into a world we no longer understand, a world with new fears and new trauma. On the track, Paloma-Sisk asks herself, “What does the day have in store?” and proclaims, “Don’t want to feel anything.” Paloma-Sisk doesn’t seem to be 100% ready to reengage with the world, and she admits it in the sweetest way possible: “I could never ask you to keep up with the rainbow of my emotions.”
The track “Disarray / (Interlude: Las Cuevas de San Pedro)” spreads its wings and floats up like a butterfly. It has a gentle refrain of “ya-ha-ha-ha,” and Paloma-Sisk builds a song of loss around her own awakening, confronting losing both someone else and yourself and not knowing which one hurts the most: “Maybe we could try / And maybe we won’t.” This song unfolds so beautifully toward its last seconds, where you hear Paloma-Sisk in one of those shiver cries where you lose your breath. It’s a subtle way of making this song personal and real.
”False Alarm” starts with faint birds in the background and an acoustic guitar. “The Magic of me as I sit here in peace and sigh / Over the water / I see you as you watch the glitter dance / On down the line.” Paloma-Silk can deliver a line like this with melodic brilliance where other artists may fall into hippy silliness. It’s a perfect line in Paloma-Silk’s hands, and on Time~Lapse Nature, the artist has plenty of them: “Smile and wave / You’ll go further and further away” (“Sonrisa / (Interlude: Hanging with Banana Tapes)”), “I wish the parts that made you angry / Would not have transferred on to me” (“Deandre”), “Now I breath love into my life.” (“Thank you, Maya”). The word pretty is lazy and safe when describing songs, but these songs are pretty in all the best possible ways.
Delisa Paloma-Sisk is a force to be reckoned with; a quiet storm. She is an artist being fearful and blossoming at the same time. Discover Diatom Deli and let her art unfold like a flower. –Russ Holsten