MilkSoft Thistle

[Self-Released; 2019]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: botany, dark ambient
Others: Ezekiel’s cherub, memory, “The Whisper Song”

Nobody stays in Eden for long. To observe nature now is to “go” to it. Ergo, driving a half-hour to a state park is an “adventure.” This, of course, belies all the weight that the words “nature” or “adventure” can carry.

We, the most helpless of animals, watch as we burn the world, conscious spectators to our own destruction. We bathe in the glow of our very own Gethsemane. With little of the sublime left, the sole ostensible natural refuge we have is the mind. And so we hide our heads in soft brain-stuff’s topsoil, constructing our own private paradises. How deep is your ecology? On Thistle, MilkSoft goes spelunking, and I follow suit…

I trace the cromlechs and crushed flora left in their wake, making way to the ersatz black of the ear-cavern. They had disappeared themselves here. As I stand at the orifice, dew-globes drip from the auricle’s cornices, dotting my forehead. I enter.

I’m greeted by echoes, the foremost of what become nine separate sonic specters. I carefully ex out the word “ethereal” in my notebook. I listen, stepping through the canal’s semisolid geo-flesh.

These nocturnal psalms are of a consistent, cohesive nature, book-ended by nothing more than the previous and the next — mostly gapless in sequence. Timbres are obfuscated beyond simple recognition. Strings? Organs? And though I distinctly recognize a voice, or maybe several at once, I focus intently on the atmosphere. It grows thinner by the minute.

I try to parse meaning out of the vague vocables. They grow louder as I make my way into the throat and then, after some struggle, the nasal canal. “I don’t remember,” a wistful moan. I am at turns frustrated and beguiled. I locate the supple caudate nucleus, tugging on it lightly. Bio-luminescent bulbs dancing above me, I notice words scratched along the lateral ventricles. “And Then There Were Two,” it reads.

Suddenly, the music gets louder. The chiming threatens to put me to sleep, though there’s something vaguely recognizable about their rhythm and the loping counterpoint. “You may miss the perfect moment,” I hear the voice say.

I retreat to the tip of the tongue, where I alight. Realizing one can never find idylls in the mind of another, I take one last look at the milky facial topography obscuring the horizon. I see my own reflection in it.

A challenging listen, MilkSoft’s memories are difficult to evaluate. The music is at turns academic and playful. But it rarely strays from the path leading to the mind of its obscure creator. It’s all expressed with the impressively cold dynamism of a minor Badalamenti or Vangelis, but the range is limited. It reflects fractured creativity, one easy to find sublimity in, but not without clues, of which there are few. Finding nature in MilkSoft’s poetry is a tonic, but one that can only be glimpsed from afar.

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