The caravan wonderland music of Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands has crossed over into the realm of dreams. The thirteen tracks on The Absolute Elsewhere drew inspiration from the timeless imagery of Rusty McDonald of DividingMe Photography. Collaborative in nature, Bright makes the photos part of the whole.
On the project’s Indiegogo page, Bright explains, “A friend introduced me to Rusty’s work and I was instantly captivated by its dark beauty. Delighted to learn that he lived close by, I invited Rusty to my next performance. He showed up, loved my music and a special friendship and creative partnership was born. My album covers and posters all feature the whimsical and melancholic imagery that thoroughly characterizes my music. It is with this project that we take our symbiosis to the next level.”
The music, like the photography, is strangely distinct and gauzy. Open the CD package and you will find Bright hovering, her black hair and dress billowing. Playing the CD yields a similar experience. Despite the fairground composition, it hangs together with a trancelike pulse. I’m reminded of the liner notes for the Cramps’ debut Gravest Hits. “The Cramps don’t pummel and you won’t pogo. They ooze, you’ll throb.” Like a mythical beast, The Absolute Elsewhere has a heartbeat.
“The End” starts the album with clanging noise that leads to accordion that waltzes into musical saw. It acts as a stylistic introduction. The second song, “October,” beckons the listener to “Walk with me beside the twisted branches.” It jauntily lurches as if it were finding footing on the tree trunk gnarled pathway of a forest floor. Bright knows her way around a composition. “Bajando La Luna (Drawing Down the Moon)” sounds Spanish. It’s not just the lyrics (in Spanish) or the guitar flourishes. Having a Masters in ethnomusicology, she understands the cultural relevance of sounds. “Fall of the Seraph” completes the musical picture. It begins moodily spare. It expands and contracts and ebbs and swells. If there is a heartbeat to the album, “Fall of the Seraph” provides the lungs that sustain the breath.
As a fan and an indiegogo supporter, I was glad to get my copy in the mail. I sat down in a comfy chair and sank into the album. It heartened me on different levels. The fanboy enjoyed listening to the CD while lingering over the artwork and lyrics. The patron took pride in supporting the art and appreciating the reward. The fantasist mingled with the dream.
Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands’ The Absolute Elsewhere comes out on May 19, 2015. It can be ordered at https://crystalbrightandthesilverhands.bandcamp.com/album/the-absolute-elsewhere. The band will be joining the Solstice of Sound Festival at the Odeum Expo Centerin Villa Park, IL on June 20, 2015.