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Mind Over Mirrors might not be a familiar name to most, but the brain behind the project, Jaime Fennelly, has been involved in numerous acclaimed and respected projects over the last few years. Primarily known for his work as an integral member of Peeesseye, he's also involved with Acid Birds, Manpack Variant and Phantom Limb & Bison. The Voice Rolling is his first solo record in five years and the first under this new moniker.
First and foremost, this is a harmonium record and that's important to remember because this doesn't sound like any other harmonium record you've likely heard. Nearly all of the sounds on The Voice Rolling were created using a medium-sized Indian harmonium and then processed electronically via tape echo, harmonizer and other guitar pedals. Add in the fact that it was recorded to tape and you get a dense, warm record full of grit and emotion.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this record is where it draws influence. On “Barely Spun” and again on “Round, Around” Fennelly bends slowly-building, repetitive melodies into massive sonic mountains. The latter acts as an ecstatic answer to hard questions asked by the former. There is so much joy and ecstasy flowing out of “Round, Around” that it reminds me of how I felt when I first heard the pure expressions in Sacred Harp singing. The music on The Voice Rolling is rampant with an over-arching feeling of being alive - something often absent in too much experimental music.
Fennelly has an innate ability to manually construct looping bass patterns that sound almost arpeggiated, but have considerably more depth. The rawness and repetition of pieces like “Brickfielder” and “Point Hammond” feel more in line with American primitive blues than any sort of Indian ragas. Turn Roscoe Holcomb's voice into a harmonium and stretch it out and you're going down the right path. Mind Over Mirrors is mining new territory on an ever-changing aural treasure map.
The Voice Rolling is an incredible journey. Fennelly put the album together in Chicago, but the organic undercurrents throughout were a product of three years of remote living on an island off the coast of Washington State. It is music that embraces both sides of the coin. This is a visceral listening experience that, at times, will make you want to stand up, raise your arms to the sky and scream.