Friday 31 March 2023

Funeral (Mice on Stilts, 2016)

 Let's explore something from the dark, even mourning side of prog. "Hope for A Mourning" was the second album by Mice on Stilts, the brainchild of singer, writer and guitarist Ben Morley and one of the most interesting acts from New Zealand in recent years. Sure, the sombre atmosphere of "Funeral" reminds me of some Scandinavian bands from the '90s, but there is a special, thougtful way here, both melancholy and dreamy. 

What a beautiful and inspiring cover art!

Despite the mournful titles of both the song and the album, there is less proper grief than spiritual abandon in this music, like in a  misty dawn over still waters. It's an intimate journey, a dreamlike meditation and still we're far from the minimal approach of ambient music. The melody line and the arrangements are rich and set on a slow paced crescendo that drags the listener's soul through dramatic landscapes and a growing sense of wonder. A beautiful, enriching experience.