Esmerine: Mechanics Of Dominion
Esmerine is the modern chamber ensemble co-founded by cellist Rebecca Foon (Saltland, Silver Mt Zion) and percussionist Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor). Following their previous album Lost Voices (2016 Juno nominee for Instrumental Album and winner for Album Packaging), Esmerine embarked on a soundtrack commission for an NFB documentary about independent journalism in the Middle East. Those sessions kept rolling throughout 2016-2017, informed by anxiety over the reactionary, regressive, seemingly irresolvable disharmony of human oppression/domination and our ever-accelerating degradation/denial of nature. Mechanics Of Dominion is Esmerine's most dynamic and narratively-informed work, tracing an arc through Neo-Classical, Minimalist, Modern Contemporary, Folk, Baroque, Jazz and Rock idioms to invoke lamentation, meditation, resolve, resistance and hope. It is a requiem for our intractably complex and suffering planet and a paean to the imperative wisdom of indigenous ethics. Stylistically, the album brings mallet instruments to the fore: marimba, glockenspiel and piano are a prominent through-line on the album's diverse tracks. Multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson's stately melodic lines on horns and acoustic strings also provide formidable elements in the ceremonious lyricism and keening vitality of this song cycle. MontrÃ©al visual artist Jean-Sebastien Denis provides brilliant abstract compositions for the album's deluxe artwork and packaging.