The following entry may contain triggering material.
So, my corporeal roommate Cecilia let me have her old phone when she got a new one, and I’ve been able to do a lot more on it than I could on my outdated laptop browser…including…catching a Spotify promotion of three months with a premium account for the equivalent of 20 Stateside cents. That’s got to be subsidized music piracy. I should signal boost musicians that I enjoyed listening to on Spotify. But exposure isn’t a tenderable currency, so this wouldn’t even be a nudge for the world to stop starving the artists.
This entry is for an album that gave me liminal questing spirit feels, then.
I found Helen Trevillion’s music on YouTube several years ago. While I’m tempted to describe the musical style as some breathy and effervescent choral echo of traditional Brythonic music, these melodies often take a decidedly modern turn like from a lilt to a drawl. The lyrics are often short, sweet and simple; other times calculatedly brutal and cathartic. The accompanying piano is almost constantly panicking about something, strings and winds do their best to calm. The overall production lends a lofty, moody, and imaginative tone to the album. And sometimes like a Vocaloid, I mean that in the best way—that is Trevillion’s real voice, I’m sure, it’s just the one-note harmonies over a whole lot of synths lend a science fantasy sort of…
Anyway, no wonder this gives me Otherfaith feels. Track by track commentary under the cut:
1. Ivory –
“I am white and black and moving, inside, outside, in-between; beauty found when no one’s listening, all this meant for only me…”
While the self-love and celebration of autonomy could apply to many gods and spirits of the West, I just personally hear this song leaning towards Lilibell.
2. Dream of the Innocent (instrumental) –
Still counts as an instrumental if the voice is used more instrumentally than lyrically, right? The piano slumbers underwater in this one. Around three and a half minutes in, the percussion scores my mental movie of Claire Clarice Clarene’s journey from her kingdom of origin.
3. Finding Heaven –
This is a short, simple, frenetic electronic dance mix. I associate with the Dierne’s imprisonment.
4. Waiting for the Snow –
“Oh, the rain wasn’t cold enough to remind her she could feel…She met a boy who claimed to understand why she hurt. He reeled her in with fairy tales, she swallowed every word.”
Indie piano/vocal. The tune is far to buoyant for the subject matter.
“She called it love but it was just an empty shell she found, too frail to catch the mess of dreams that spiraled to the ground.”
oh gods help
“She shed her wings and threw herself into the storm outside, ashamed of all the hopes she’d failed, the tears she couldn’t hide.”
…this song suggests a happy ending but doesn’t make it outright…
…all the Alice 04 feels…
…and my headcanon Alice 04 doesn’t feel good, like, ever…
5. Stepping Stones –
L’OPHELIA. Maybe some of the Clarene.
6. My Winter –
I get Othani and A009 feels from this one. It’s a very simple melody on loop, with a mechanical earfeel and embellishments.
7. Letters To You –
This song’s arrangement is so adventurous and layered, and Trevillion’s vocals is at her most natural. It’s probably the most pop-styled song in this album. I hear Lyra in it.
8. Over the Waterfalls –
This is a nice song. By nice, I mean the attitude this song carries. Something about this song has me waiting for Mircea’s backhand. It’s too nice. Something’s up. Every line has a sinister, perilous double meaning when I listen to it.
9. Butterfly Girl –
Did I say the piano was almost constantly panicking? It’s been mellow these past two songs. This song is too odd for me to say more than that, the production is a surreal jumble in a good way. Alice 60, maybe?
10. Will You –
Another mellow song. Almost jazzy, but more of a pop ballad. Synths used sparingly over more acoustic instrumentals. As for the words, this is probably, for the most part, what I come off like whenever I try to connect with the Clarene.
11. Heaven Hides –
For me, this is a description of liminalism and questing in general. The piano worries about the chorus of Trevillions again. It’s effervescently cosmic.
12. The Mermaid Part I: The Storm (instrumental) –
This is far more movie-soundtrack like, and about as broad and intense as a storm at sea can be. I get Corliss feels from this one.
13. Shine –
and baCKHAND OF MIRCEA RIGHT NOW THIS SONG
I suppose this can be inspirational and meaningfully empathic, just like ‘Over the Waterfalls’ this is a…nice…song. Everything about it. Nice. I guess I should just get the riddlewyrm out that keeps nagging, ‘But thaaat’s how They getchaaa.’
14. Desert Garden –
This gives me Laethic feels.
15. Vision of Perfection –
…Okay, for some reason I’m getting SHAKESPEARE’s Ophelia from this.
16. Secret Universe (instrumental) –
STAR SPIRITS. That is a magnificently dastardly piano solo, short as it is.
17. Sister –
Gentle, flowy song with a simple theme that manages to avoid sounding the least bit simpering. This is general enough that I could associate it with Laethic spirits, Alice Androids, or witch spirits.
The second part of the album are four songs, each a retelling of a Grimm fairy tale.
18. Sleeping Beauty –
For a song that focuses on a mood or shards of some scenes rather than tell the story, it’s remarkably complex. I’ve read this interpretation as a heroic effort of Trevillion to represent asexual aromantics, but I don’t know how well that gels with the implication that aces are necessarily infantile?
19. Rapunzel –
“Time doesn’t wait, you’ve got to reach out and make your mistakes.”
Jazzy. Catchy. For reasons other than the music itself, I hate this one. Is it weird that I feel personally condescended to whenever I listen to it? It is weird. Never mind.
20. The Goose Girl –
This has become my favorite song in the album. I can never remember the fairy tale that this is based on, though. I hear or read the title, I realize I can’t remember what happens in it, so I read the tale, I neither dislike it nor like it, so I forget what happens in it again.
Rather than retelling, Trevillion focuses on this much of the tale: someone is making someone else’s life suck. Around the two minute mark, the song turns into a spell:
“If my heart breaks, will no one hear it? If my world aches, will no one feel it? Honesty is stronger than your violence. Truth is greater, even in my silence…”
It could also be a trap: the catharsis comes of believing in the magic more than anything actually happening, whether by magic or doing some mundane action. I like to believe that truth can fight for herself, even that no fight is needed: the truth simply is, irrepressibly. Without kings that care about the truth, and the oblique audience of an iron stove, though? Lies win. (How can I not ever remember a fairy tale where making an audience member out of an iron stove saves the day? That’s peculiar.)
21. Cinderella –
“Whisp’ring on street corners: ‘Don’t stop now, keep running!’ / Blood keeps pounding in her ears, a city blurring in her tears…”
Rather than retelling, Trevillion focuses on this much of the tale: someone is making someone else’s life suck. Whereas I consider ‘Waiting for the Snow’ and ‘The Goose Girl’ to be a mix of brutal and cathartic, this angle on Cinderella comes off to me more about brutality and fortitude.
“I know I’m meant to be loved, I know I’m meant to be loved, I know I’m meant to be loved, I know I’m meant to be loved, I know I’m meant to be loved, I know I’m meant to be loved, I know I’m meant to be loved…and this is not my story. This is not my story. This is not my story. This is not my story. This is not my story. This is not my story. This is not my story.”
Those are the actual lyrics. Pre-chorus rhymes ‘end’ with ‘end’. It works.