Secrets of Navigation – Seven Crows (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Musicians often rely on the sonic sucker-punch, the gimmick or the quick and obvious saccharine hit to hook the listener and draw them in. And then there are musicians who are smarter than such that. Violinist Chris Murphy has turned his hand to almost every conceivable style of music over the years, from classical to bluegrass, from the elegant to the earthy, and under the moniker Seven Crows he gives us Secrets of Navigation and displays yet another string to his violin bow. Celtic Ambience. Is that a thing? It is now!

This title track, from an album to follow, is a masterclass in slow-burning sonic builds, anticipation, minimalism and grace. A single musical line drifting ever closer, building, echoing, searching, evolving, losing definition yet always growing in power. It is gradually joined by drones and washes, strings and sonics which slowly engage and engulf the listener until you find yourself cocooned in its shimmering charms.

And, just like all good musicians, he doesn’t give the listener what they expect. The explosion of energy, the resolution, the sonic counter-point to such understatement never comes and it is as much the listeners concentration and expectations which create the palpable power to match the music’s perfect poise.

Elegant, eloquent and gorgeously graceful. You don’t get that everyday!

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