Nature has become a novel concept. Being disconnected from technology is far more frightening to the average consumer than isolation from the simple, fluid mechanics of sun, rain, wind, growth, decomposition, and yes…death. The majesty of nature has always been its mystery. But the concept of the unknown, of the unknowable, is the antithesis of the human need to define. A patriarchal, individualistic, ego-centric system was erected by a society of opportunists who knew that nature’s model of lucid linearity stood in the way of their rigid desire for control, for power, for dominion over the mystery of death. Many see technology as our attempt to artificially synthesize ‘oneness’ or, to use fancier terminology, universal interconnectivity. It’s a hollow cohesion. The digital universe, it seems, has replaced visceral human experience. Why remember something when it can be summoned in seconds? Why go somewhere when someone else has taken pictures of it? Please do not mistake my words for Luddite rhetoric. Hypocrisy is not my strong suit. I, too, am caged by technology and can only idealize the wonders of a world without it.
Arborea forges the ever-illusive middle path. Though rooted in traditional folk melodies and instrumentation, the duo’s subtle use of modern production techniques paints a landscape of both stunning simplicity and painful melancholy. Shanti Curran’s voice, steeped in the frost of a late autumn, pierces the droning guitar and banjo melodies with aching efficacy. For all its bucolic beauty, Arborea’s new self-titled record’s atmospherics sometimes outshine its songwriting. Their vision, though rooted in the tradition of centuries past, glows with both an acceptance and admonition of the artificiality of our times.
[download] “Black Mountain Road” from Arborea