Review: Micromelancolié + Sindre Bjerga ‎– Prayer Calls

The fade-up of Prayer Calls sounds like stumbling upon a jet plane crash in the middle of a stormy forest; rainwater cascading over ripe leaves, crowds of distant bird squawk and crackling interjections of unanswered pilot intercom. A muffled, somewhat reverent chord starts to rise up through the centre – a bit like the viscous emission of Tony Conrad’s pump organ on his Joan Of Arc soundtrack, albeit a version that leaves me dreaming into a state of calm rather than restless in atonal distaste. The sound of the surrounding environment (rainwater, birdsong) remains constant; it’s a gorgeously balanced hallucinatory merge of the sounds of the world and a secret music tucked somewhere within the supposed silence, lurking beyond our usual perceptual spectrum.

It’s in this that the title of Prayer Calls feels most appropriate, as a music that summons the sonic beyond into the corporeal realm. The second track opens on a chorus of dead air and further obscured walkie-talkie spill, blending with a feedback that gushes ungracefully (yet nonetheless harmoniously) over the top; for a while it’s a music of seemingly minimal composer intervention, brought to life with a gentle touch and then left to miraculously self-generate as the noise of buried radiation and vibration. Equally, the electronic whines and throbs leaking out of the third piece feel like the natural by-product of the rickety train trundling overhead, as though replacing the gaseous hiss of the engine hydraulics with something more musical. Even during the more brash and fidgety sampling during this closing piece (featuring chaotic noise squeals, jovial piano jams and distant sirens), Bjerga and Skrzyński feel as though they’re present to gently guide music into being and between states instead of evoking any grand shifts in direction – like a river flowing downstream, the subtle tilts and curves in direction do nothing to break the firm focus on the music’s ultimate destination. Wherever that may be.