Those Who Have Eyes Are Divine
In Pittsburgh, attempts at ambience and post-rock textures have often meant foreboding clouds of doom. The duo Mother Sun proves the exception to the rule. Part of a musician clique arising several years ago from the Duquesne Music School (a clique that included members of Discuss, Ekofield and Ennui), Jon Cordle and Chris Haynes were in post-rock bands Slur and Gremlins & Butterflies. Later, they shifted to a synth-based ambo-pop sound, joined by Cordle's then-fiancée, Julie Von Volkenburg.
After Cordle split with Von Volkenburg and endured the passing of loved ones in a "crisis of faith," he and Haynes emerged with a boatload of inspirational melodies on Those Who Have Eyes Are Divine. There's a New Agey trance-a-delic Christianity all over this release, with lyrical references to the Bible (e.g., "Mother Mary, carry me," "forty days and forty nights," and "baptized in the water of the sublime") laid on rather thickly.
The pulsating arpeggios and blissful synth patches are most reminiscent of France's M83 and the uplifting nebulas of Sigur Rós. But certain songs expand on the formula: the quiet "Rain Conversations" could fit on a Projekt Records comp; "Chinese Homes" ventures into angelic psych-folk; and for fans of the Anticon label, "Poor Boy" (featuring rapper Bloodmoney) merges hypnagogia and hip hop. Cordle's former Duquesne buddies are all over the disc, adding violin, cello and piano.
Meanwhile, Cordle's friend Andres Ortiz-Ferrari (a.k.a. Discuss, and half of electro duo Ekofield) has dropped an interim CD, having proven to be a master of Boards-of-Canada-styled ambient electronica. He applies remixing skills to his "current and past favorites, giving them new life," reworking electronic artists like BOC and Sébastien Tellier, as well as shoegaze/indie heroes Grizzly Bear, Slowdive and Flaming Lips (though you'd be hard-pressed to recognize Interpol among the IDM clicks and crunches).
Special treats are an Amon Tobinesque jazzy track for Waxpoetics heads (combining John and Alice Coltrane with Roberta Flack) and the final jam, which deconstructs Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" in gentle head-nod fashion. These two releases inaugurate Ortiz-Ferrari's new imprint, Discos Unherd-Uf. So hopefully, other interesting sounds will emerge from this largely unnoticed local camp.
Mother Sun CD release with Ekofield and The Novel Ideas. 8 p.m. Fri., June 25. Most Wanted Fine Art, 5015 Penn Ave., Garfield. $5. All ages. 412-889-7526