words by tom johnson
Much of ambient music’s appeal lies in repetition, the subtle surges of music rising and falling in a graceful back and forth that lends itself to reinforcement and then, hopefully, captivation, intrigue, wonderment. Midwife’s music undoubtedly does this, but Madeline Johnston also uses her words as waves, coupling the music with a voice that subtly, strikingly swarms the senses by never quite letting go of the sentiments it spills in to the world.
Previously known for her minimal ambient work as Sister Grotto, this new project is a collaboration with Tucker Theodore and their debut release arrives next week via a full-length effort, Like Author, Like Daughter via Whited Sepulchre Records. The pair have shared two tracks from the record thus far and both are crushingly pretty and intoxicating, in just about equal measure; a ying-yang meeting of temperaments and temperatures that instantly bury the listener within their world.
Apropos that opening paragraph, album opener “Song For An Unborn Son” marries dense weaves of guitar, ambient glows, and Johnston’s plea to “run, run, run”. Perhaps most impressive is the delicacy of it all, despite the occasional bite and crunch of the words that leaks out of the cracks in various revealing moments. “Liar” is equally impressive and immersive, that lead voice somewhat lighter than on its predecessor but still utterly magnetic, the chugging guitars and prickly, sweat-drenched atmosphere creating a searing sense of longing and solitude that’s reminiscent of Red House Painters at their meandering and meaningful best.
The full record is released next Friday – with pre-orders available now via Bandcamp – and you can stream both of the available tracks below right now.