Up until now, for me at least, When Mountains Speak has been a mystical figure, the man behind the music, communicating with the outside world only through the strange and engaging sounds that he makes. Any accompanying videos have been as wonderfully obscure as the music that he weaves. By that, I mean that if the music seems to exist in a world of its own creation, the videos give no hint at the creator itself.
Well, not anymore. The latest video for the brilliantly names Penguins and Marmalade is the moment when the curtain is pulled back and we see for the first time how this world really works. And instead of experiencing a Wizard of Oz-like “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” moment, here we get a real treat.
The man himself, dancing swiftly over guitar pedals and sample triggers, weaving sounds in and around gentle, pre-programed beats. For those of a technical nature, an indication of how such ornate and beautiful music is made, and for those of us interested in more worldly matters a chance to meet the man himself, if only virtually.
And watching him create such glorious soundscapes seems to heighten the experience rather than diminish it, as if we are being beguiled by a sonic shaman conjuring up such sounds from the air in a primal ritual, rather than watching something as every day as a musician going about their creative business. It’s as if being faced with the truth makes things even more magical! Imagine that?
As always the music is meditative and relaxed, exotic and free-willed, structureless yet purposeful. It wanders its own pathways guided by its maker, though perhaps sometimes leading its creator as much as being shown the way. Relaxing rhythms and beatific beats are complimented by spiralling and coiling guitar creations and occasionally shot through with colliding explosions of sound; second-guessing where the music goes is futile, best to just relax into the musical landscape and go where it bids. Shouldn’t that be the case with all music?
Gorgeous music, of course, but there is something even more wonderful about seeing it being pieced together and delivered in real-time.