From the opening pizzicato notes of “Dark Like Night,” Seattle-based violist/vocalist L. Alex Guy (Led to Sea is her solo project) guides us to a very organic world full of icy skies, rocky shores, rust, forests, and mountain streams heeding the the ocean’s call. Guy’s vocals are captivating — and she plays a mean glockenspiel.
“Is This the Last Time?” picks up the pace a bit with the addition of Paul Kikuchi’s drum kit and the plink-plunk percussion of Saba Angel. From there, the pieces begin to unfold like some sort of night-blooming moonflower in a dense indigo forest. Guy has gathered some of Seattle’s top musicians — cellist Lori Goldston (Black Cat Orchestra), bassist Jherek Bischoff (The Dead Science), and violinist Paris Hurley (Kultur Shock) — to create a dramatic and very entertaining record.
Particularly interesting is “Night Calls to The Humble Stream,” adapted from 1989’s The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano. “Night calls to the water lily / Night calls to the dark sand / At the stroke of midnight / The white points burst open to the river.” This is the hypnotic epicenter of this amazing work of art, and the final mantra ends with Guy’s singly compelling voice: “Night calls to the humble stream that flows down to the place you lie.”
“Fear of Flight” and “Fern Musing,” the album’s only instrumentals, draw close comparisons to the best work of Philip Glass.
The playfully creepy “Your Ghost” is about a ghostly encounter (“Your ghost held me in its arms last night / I was not scared to feel its cold breath … It sang so sweetly in my ear”) reminding the narrator that all things must (and will) die. “The Thought” closes the album with an upbeat reflection on the inner voices that hold us hostage.
Led to Sea just finished a tour with Laura Veirs. Check out “Is This the Last Time?” on ATF Radio.