Yet another instance of previous acquaintance with only half of a duo – clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski – whereas with Seamus Cater (vocals, concertina, Rhodes piano, harmonica) this is a welcome first encounter.
The sound of Secrets is both rarefied and condensed. Born from the intention of creating material not schematized by codes or blueprints, it was composed on the spot without preliminary sketches, and subsequently scored. The musicians developed this form of articulation over about six years of “secluded work” before deciding to enter the studio. It could ring very “zen”, weren’t this writer repelled by this term, nowadays exploited by the rapidly expanding market of mental control.
The music is essential, sparse, deprived of conflicts, mainly informed by intelligible lines escorting each other or quietly intersecting; the only dissonance remembered right now is a shrieking clarinet in “The Philosopher”. There is a conscious search for the correct vibratory distance related to the contiguity of certain tones, which yields gentle (or less) beatings in several tracks. However, the whole’s foundation remains Cater and Fagaschinski’s innate ability to extrapolate fragments of melody and unobtrusive clusters from stillness, adorning them with dim lights. The lyrics, where applicable, tend towards a mild surrealism (minus the affectation); they do not represent the crux of the biscuit, though, appearing more as a pretext to use the voice as an additional instrument/contrapuntal component. The last piece “The Barrel Organ” is a veritable miniature mantra, perhaps the lone episode that could be described as minimalist.
Overall, a useful enhancement of one’s depressurization process.