AMN Reviews: Maile Colbert – Come Kingdom Come (Two Acorns)

An exploratory opera dealing with “millennialism and apocalyptic thought and theory” using the New Testament´s Book of Revelations “as a score and launching point” and enough dinosaurs on the cover to make creationists crazy. What´s not to love? Intermedia artist and “soundscape ecologist” Maile Colbert, an Angelino living in Lisbon, directs soprano Gabriela Crowe as she mixes medieval chant and the poetry of Ian Colbert and weaves these shimmering threads into an electroacoustic soup.

As much about genesis as eschatology – the ultimate tip of the end of time touching its very beginning – Come Kingdom Come is divided into seven acts, seven days of void filling with form, where the spectral “Ouverture for That Day” catches fragments of what happened at the end in the strings of cello loops. Act One “Begins” with a prayer as heard by the angels, faint but passionate, a glossolalia that ultimately turns into English, about the cold shiver family memory can bring to the soul. Fragments of conversation in “Two Vessels” may reflect some of those memories. “Day from Arrival” seems to exist in some limbo, sparks shed by the Milky Way, muffled voices from the dark side of the moon.

Crowe “looks for absolutes” on “Four Falling Branches”, a Meredith Monk-y, polyphonic kaddish featuring electronic irritationist Tellemake, smoothed out by organ drone, sandblasted and then, on “A Fluid Dawn”, nibbled at the edges by electric termites. “Blinding for to Begin Again” is the mouth of the snake biting its tail – death to make way for beginning, God destroying his ministering angels each morning only to create new ones each night. The final track “Song for the End of Time” is sung with Jessica Constable (partner of Andrea Parkins in The Skein), while Rui Costa mans the electronics. It´s just as quietly disorienting and non-spectacular as you suspect the end times will be – a whimper, or perhaps better, sigh, rather than a bang.

Stephen Fruitman

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