Tuesday, December 09, 2014

THE JUKEBOX HERO HYMNAL: Hymn 009: Holy Ghost by Low

As defined by AllMusic, the musical sub-genre of Slowcore “is indeed famed for the snail's pace of the skeletal music -- melodies linger forever and rhythms lurch forward, all shrouded in thick, dank atmospherics. While closely intertwined with Sadcore, which favors a similar sound, Slowcore's concerns are far more musical than lyrical -- in fact, many Slowcore bands are instrumental outfits, while those with vocalists typically employ much more opaque lyrics than their soul-baring Sadcore counterparts.

Well, you don’t get much slower than Low, the Minnesota based trio who helped define Slowcore beginning way back in 1994. And as for opaque lyrics, yeah, Low has pretty much mastered those as well. But every now and then, they deliver a song whose meaning is pretty straight forward, songs like “Holy Ghost” from their latest album “The Invisible Way.”

Guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk and drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker are devout Mormons, you see, and they’re not adverse to exploring their faith in their music. Plus, it also helps that they have something of a unique recording space. In an interview with Relevant Magazine, “Sparhawk acknowledges that some of the spirit of this new album was provided by the place where it was recorded: a decommissioned Catholic church in Duluth where Low has built a studio (they recorded their 2002 album Trust there).  ‘It's a unique space which imposes a character on everything we do there,’ he says. ‘I remember sitting in the pews while we were fiddling with stuff and letting myself feel the weight of that space, and acknowledge what had been there. The history of good intentions and hope and all that happened in that space. It made me stand a little quieter.”

That interior quietness permeates “Holy Ghost’” a song that recognizes the despair and unease which can settle on the soul, but also the comforting presence of the spirit of God which can free a person from it.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.” (Matthew 11:28-29, NABRE)

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