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Natalia Beylis and Eimear Reidy
She Came Through the Window to Stand By the Door Daryl Worthington , March 6th, 2023 08:52

An album recorded in a church in County Leitrim conjures worlds within worlds for Daryl Worthington

Something lurks in Natalia Beylis’ and Eimear Reidy’s second album, She Came Through the Window to Stand By the Door. It starts barely perceptible, a background hum in ‘Pour Upon The Sky’ while Reidy bows a sombre lament. As this eerie sustain on the edge of hearing grows from apprehension to comprehension it disturbs its surroundings. Reidy’s playing falls from graceful eddies into shapes harrowed, frantic and provoked. The drone, drenched in suspense like the buzz of a far-off pylon or the rumble of an impending cataclysm, collapses into fraught organ runs. Cello and bellows churn into a storm as Beylis’ playing turns demonic, channelling her own personal Toccata and Fugue.

Those organ sounds, archaic and supernatural, theatrical and meteorological, come from a William Telford Organ, built in 1846 and located at St Georges Church, Carrick On Shannon, Leitrim, where the duo recorded this album. As the liner notes explain, the second of the two tracks, ‘The Whistling Dust’, refers to the moment Beylis first began to play it: “the Telford, which seemed like it had been sitting quietly for quite some time, shook and trembled as its insides were awoken.”

The ominous hum fully haunts that second piece, this time not abating but swelling. Evil on the first track, on the second it becomes celestial. A sonorous texture that accumulates mass, a bed of delicately unstable matter reminiscent of the slow drift in Eliane Radigue’s ARP 2500 meditations. As the organ tone engulfs space and time, Reidy colours the canvas it unfurls. Flurries, whines, and slides thread a tapestry of drama and movement, her playing carrying vivid action akin to a timelapse video of plankton.

When Reidy and Beylis combine they conjure a sense of place with cello, organ and a few background creaks immersive enough to rival any multi-speaker diffusion system. Flicking between epic and nuanced, at points this album could generate its own gravitational vortex. But the looming mass is never a stand in for variation. The duo constantly work together to flesh out details. The idea of sound being world building is common in ‘electronic’ music, whether modular or computer. Beylis and Reidy show that surroundings can be bypassed with acoustic means, and the conjured realms can be full of motion and life.

Transportive isn’t quite the right word. Their music induces hyperphantasia. It jumps out of the sonic into the optic, the borderline haptic. Triggering mental images, webs of landscape and mood, in the brain. Where their debut, ‘Whose Woods These Are’, evoked the mystery of a forest, ‘She Came Through the Window to Stand By the Door’ conjures something less tangible. An apparition connected to low-winter light and tumult. Their interactions bring locations into being, pulling blustery, craggy, landscapes out of your subconscious.