Editorial – Amber Waves; Photography – J.J. Deogracias
I find myself seated at a bustling bar, filled with suits and people dressed to the nines, many with laminated passes from CMW around their necks. Sipping my glass of well-deserved chardonnay, I am transfixed by the siren several feet away on the improvised stage. I am not the only one.
For all of the chatter in such an inopportune venue, the groups around me frequently draw to a halt, admiring the pipes at the mic. It’s not hard to understand why: Denmark’s Esther Maria packs the plaintive, “wise beyond her years” belting PJ Harvey has been known for since Rid Of Me. Primarily straddling the line between folk and country, Esther dashes in the edgy, salted-wound feel of alternative to lend a sense of primal urgency to the compositions from her latest release, The Abyss. Take for example, the first proper track off the album, “Off The Edge”: melancholy and filled with longing on the studio cut, the occasional soaring notes live only add to the pleading. The stripped-down nature of an acoustic set calls for the songs to speak for themselves and they do, cutting to the core of the listener’s heart and connecting with a sonic suckerpunch.
The definition of abyss takes two forms: that of a seemingly bottomless depth, or that of an impossible divide between two people or groups. While the songs of Esther Maria may stem from that impossible divide that often destroys our relationships, there is no separation between audience and performer. There is, instead, a cord binding two wrists before a blind plunge is undertaken. Esther may unearth impossible dark depths within the soul, but fear not: she’ll help you kick to the surface and rise above.
Much more to come soon in our Farewell To CMW 2013 Galleries!