ANNA HOMLER & SYLVIA HALLETT – The Many Moods Of Bread And Shed

The Orchestra Pit

“Bread And Shed” is the sobriquet of the Homler & Hallett duo, this CD being their first recording together in spite of a transoceanic friendship lasting since 1992 (Anna hails from Los Angeles, Sylvia from Tottenham, London). The work may be titled “The Many Moods”, yet the unequivocal only mood that it transfers to this listener is one of pureness. The joyous disclosure of polymeric instrumental patchworks projected by the artists is not distant from the kind of sinlessness that any healthy person can detect when observing toddlers vocalizing in trance-like fashion as they’re intent in destroying some of their playthings or just staring at a fixed point, genuinely meditating as no Zen master will ever be able to in a whole lifetime. Not a wonder, then, that one of the finest tracks herein was generated by a fabulous juxtaposition of sounds coming from squeaking rubber animals and chanting frogs. A delight.

On the other hand, the foundation for the bulk of these surrealistic fantasies is constituted by ductile looping structures enriching the music with scents of “mesmeric security”. Picture a charming garden of which we can clearly see the surrounding walls, full of beautiful flowers amidst the ivy. Now, envisage the feeling of relief as you think to the potential dangers that are avoided by remaining inside. The timbres are a multitude, all splendidly evocative; the palette includes everything between “unadulterated acoustic” and “semi-radical electronic”. Homler’s voice depicts simple melodies reminiscent of ancient cultures, yet – as long as I can hear – the languages she uses are more or less fabricated, which increases the level of elfish befuddlement. We imagine a Meredith Monk doll clone performing in a small town’s square with a Chinese folk ensemble. Even where the pairing of glissando and massive stratification evokes rainbows in dark skies, the results appear accessible and heartwarming.

Several years were necessary to reach this balance of ingredients. And in this slam-bang world ejecting mediocrity by the minute, a record like this equals the pleasure of warming your lap with a purring cat set to pierce your soul through an inimitable pupil-into-pupil connection.

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