Spun over the course of four years, The Secret Miracle Fountain finds hulking, hazy guitars and silvery piano lines merging with lyrical violins and fed through numerous trails of sound processing. Recorded in over 18 different locations with contributions from some 30 guest artists, its compositions are a tangled web of disparate backgrounds, predilections, and abilities but for all that, the players do not step on each other's lines. They don't just show a capacity to listen attentively; despite their numbers, each makes him- or herself available to the others, and the intimacy involved in this gesture shows throughout the supple movements of these pieces.
In the first handful of tracks, what is first apparent is that, although songs shift abruptly from astral atmospheres of lambent clarinets, pensive chanting and dustings of languid chimes to angular guitar harmonics and melodic dissonance, the meditative flicker of fire or the crunching of gravel underfoot acts as something of an ocean floor, joining these otherwise isolated islands of sound. Now and again, on songs such as "Prayer in Tonal Forest," the soft crackle of these field recordings fuses with the coarse whistling of an overloaded amplifier, forming a static landscape that takes on a more prominent, active role as the piece develops. Elsewhere, on "Shards" and "Hanalei," the raw thrashing of rustic instrumentation treads alongside mercurial, abstract electronics, forging a sublime juxtaposition.
More specifically, though, the underlying strength of this music is the way in
which these contrasting elements give onto each other in a fluent, willing manner.
When purring trumpets and the delicate tapping of steel pans are themselves crosshatched,
then flecked by psychedelic guitar washes and messy, scrunched-up beats, the
sudden shift in momentum does not seem fortuitous, but simply another well-placed
event carrying the mood of the piece onward. In this way, the crest and trough
in the surging, at times euphoric wave of this band's sound are different yet
inseparable. And while the current of this recording grows a trifle thin and
weak in places, a powerful ritualistic aura appreciation and fear before the indecipherable babble of nature pervades its strongest moments.