Sample The Sky
“Visions of what could be / wild imaginations / emerging from the mystery / of future generations.” Art, like seeds, grow into forests and gardens, sometimes more beautiful and supportive than we could ever imagine. London-based multidisciplinary artist and producer Laura Misch, deals on her latest offering with a natural world in crisis by planting seeds of gratefulness and wonder at the outside world around us, in groundbreaking, danceable, and supremely moving music. Much like Bjork’s latest environmentally conscious work—who she draws from a good deal musically as well—it is an electro-acoustic album, that shares the same DNA as some of my favorite female-lead bands: Bjork, Sylvan Esso, My Brightest Diamond, Rubblebucket.
Sample the Sky, the title of the record, has a double meaning. On the one hand, it is a reference to those “snapshots” of sky that take our breath away and that we might message to a friend, to share our absolute awe at the beauty we behold. But it also illustrates something that Misch has learned in her study of biomedicine and music (two of her disciplines of choice): the way that microphones and microscopes alike take “samples” of life, to be studied and better understood and appreciated.
There is saxophone and harp, but there is also synthesizer and beat machines, field recordings and the harmony of her voice. In keeping with the theme of “outside,” her work, which formerly was mostly self-produced, has become a much more collaborative process with musicians outside herself, one of which is the talented William Arcane, who caught her ear because of his “synth wizardry.” “There’s no competition here / survival of the nurtured / my dear / I want to see you grow too.”
It is a deeply personal album, focusing one of the singles, “Portals,” on the peaceful death of her grandfather during the pandemic that she felt lucky to witness. The story goes that she felt like at the moment of his death he, a man who had a particularly close relationship with nature, seemed to become one with everything. “Portals open as you slowly drift through / Surrounded by our love.” Other songs, like “Wild Swim,” capture an almost immediate spiritual and physical response to nature: “When we find cold water / I dive in.”
Whether it is the wind-like sound of the saxophone, or the water-like synthesizers, or the earth-like beats, or the fire-like vocals, it is music that is elemental. The future, to Misch, holds positive possibilities, she says through this record, in contrast to much of the doom and gloom of the news around climate change. “Grandma told me legends / the city lungs are the trees / she honors and protects them,” she sings on “City Lungs,” with its beautifully picked guitar, circling like breath in our own lungs. In celestial words and sound, she captures the poetry of the natural world in her latest album, and passes on her triumphant hope for a world worth protecting.
Order Sample The Sky by Laura Misch HERE
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