Heavy Stars’ Processions is a loose concept album about the journey from birth to death, told through the use of field recording samples, manipulated vocals and a comfortingly chill ambience.
Each track on this cassette represents a different stage of life, each of which the artist describes as being a mini-procession (hence the title). Starting with of course, “Womb,” which is a muted assemblage of dreamy vibraphones and an ever-present heartbeat, and ending with the optimistically death-themed sound collage, “Marathon Wands.”
The music here is deeply relaxing, and carries a strong healing vibe, as it is largely comprised of soft, glassy tones, various earthy, organic sounds and sweetly delicate vocals. The singing on this tape is mostly cut up, looped and often fed through a variety of effects, essentially becoming an instrument itself. As a result of this, the album is vaguely reminiscent of early Laurie Anderson.
It also must be said that the use of sampling here is rather unique. Instead of being chosen at random or based purely on aesthetics, each field recording was specially selected to help tie together the overarching theme of the record. Take for example “Lessons,” a song that the liner notes says “represents the lessons we learn in both formal and informal settings.” Within this track you’ll find a recording of an African elder instructing her young students how to sing traditional folk songs. As another example, “Kudra,” features a snippet of a religious figure’s memorial service, hammering home the song’s funeral motif. It’s details like these that help make Processions a multilayered and endlessly fascinating listen.
Get this album today from Aural Canyon Records and I strongly urge you to read more about the background of each song, which you can find in the liner notes of the tape’s Bandcamp page.