“North of Niagara” (subtitled “Impressions along the Bruce Trail”) is actually a sister release to Mr Danna’s solo effort “Skies”. It makes an appropriate companion for anyone in a bit somber, melancholic state of mind while it will also slow down and unwind a busy head appropriately. With it the Canadians Mychael Danna and Tim Clément add another strong chapter to their self-defined new field of music, a distinctively “Canadiana” sound which they coined as “romantic minimalism”. The latter implies repetition of small melodic/harmonic cells, rendered with deep feeling, meant to elicit certain emotions which this sullen scenery inspires.
Most of all the 52-minute modern classical recording features intensely visual and highly emotive music through 12 securely moulded miniature symphonies dwelling in the contemplative ambient domain. The use of field recordings from the area adds to the strength of the descriptive, highly introspective tone poems, making them feel, grandeur, and vistas of Bruce Trail’s nature environment almost palpable.
I’m personally not that great a fan of the slide guitar surfacing on two tracks nor the accordion on “Remember Summer”. But things really skyrocket on the spacy, almost hymn-like “Mount Nemo” while the evocative “Ravensview”, “Old Mail Road” and “Avening” feel like a warm embrace. I suggest you just lean back, close your eyes and submerge in the impressionist beauty and calm of this album. Fans of early Tim Story or Eno should keep this one in mind too. Overall rating: between 3.5 and 4 stars.
|You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Mychael Danna artist page
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