Poetica (from the album Poetica on available on MPress Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
An adventurous collaboration between singer/songwriter/entrepreneur Rachael Sage and her longtime collaborator and Grammy-winning cellist Dave Eggar, Poetica combines haunting narratives with elusive soundscapes to hypnotic effect. All sorts of messaging is entwined in these nocturnal offerings, transformative tales bolstered by shifting melodies and undulating tempos. Granted, there’s little that allows opportunity to hum along, but the effect is alluring regardless, one that requires the listener to lean in and listen in order to absorb it to its fullest effect.
Those that have followed Sage’s career already know her to be an imaginative artist who tends to be both charming and challenging in equal measure. However, Rachael Sage also has a fascination with poetry, and in undertaking this new project, she plies her skills to impart a new and unexpected form of artistic expression. She ruminates on topics with clear philosophical intent, as evidenced by “Lamentation” in particular, a meditative musing on sudden death and the impact it has on those that loss leaves behind. And while other tracks may be less pointed, they come across as poignant and passionate as well.
Consequently, the offerings that make the most immediate attention are those that have an emphatic melodic imprint. Those tracks include the decidedly dark yet effortlessly alluring “Powder”, the strident sound imbued in “Days of Awe”, the plucked percussion of “Lower East Side Baby,” and the hushed ambiance that defines “Magenta and Blue” and “How Songs Are Born”. Yet, to the group’s credit, Sage’s poetry and the music that drifts beneath manage to find an ideal balance, so that one element never entirely overwhelms the other. It gives Poetica its defining sound, one that identifies this experimental ensemble as a decidedly unique entity indeed.
Whether or not, Rachael Sage and company opt to tap into this template again remains to be seen, but with 18 tracks on their eponymous debut, they’ve given us plenty to mull over in the meantime.
Suffice it to say, Poetica makes for a promising proposition. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Poetica from AMAZON
Please visit the Poetica website for more information