Review: Cristal – Homegoing

I am submerged; sound is both muffled and muffling, cloaking my head and rushing past my ears in bubbling jets. Homegoing feels like an perfect title when I spend so much of the record disorientated and directionless; the thick drones and avalanches of spray blocks my vision, leaving me aware of just the motion of the water as it laps and convulses immediately before my face. The idea of home dissolves, and the rush of activity spins me until I lose all sense of up and down; travel and transience are most prevalent, but destination is not.

Were it not such an imposing record – pressing itself upon its listener, clouding the senses – it may be considered a gorgeous one. A cello hums and quivers during opener “Yoke”, like an underwater creature summoning the listener away from danger, while a singing bowl unravels in resonance and rustling, metallic strips during the latter half of “Herrevad”. Yet any isolated moments of beauty are rendered as glistening beacons of false hope – floating fragments of familiarity that bring the record’s ominous nature into greater emphasis. Even as the title track swells with choral voices, it becomes streaked with a strange feedback that seems to rise out of the delicately discordant harmonies. It’s undoubtedly a beautiful record, and one that interweaves the listener’s sense of awe with a sinister alienation.