Celestial is a new release from Ireland’s Anna Clock. The 13-minute live recording was inspired by the Hubble Xtreme Deep Field, a collection of images of the telescope’s the deepest optical view into space. Featuring 11 musicians – 4 voices, violin, viola, cello, double bass, 2 saxophones and percussion, it includes both composed and improvised sections, and varies between textures and melodies.
Perhaps reminiscent of Philip Glass at times, the group mostly eschews the minimalist approach, by layering distinct themes and drones in a deceptively complex fashion. By the halfway point, Celestial evolves into what might be called modern improv, with the vocals both enunciating as well as providing wordless melodies. In addition to the singers, the strings are particularly prominent throughout.
This is a compelling offering from a genre-bending group that borders on the unclassifiable. The only drawback to Celestial is its short running time. Hopefully Anna Clock will be back with a full release soon.