by Todd Tobias
Instrumental mood music is my thing, so I expected my latest project to end up as an ambient album in my collection of solo works. But after I finally had a pool of finished tracks to draw from, I decided to ask my fellow Hidden Shoal label mate Chloë March if she might have a listen and see if she’d like to add her lovely voice to the music.
Listen to the album Amialluma while reading the text.
A Lost World, a Forgotten Language
I had a few instructions for Chloë. First off, I told her I’d like her to sing in an invented language. Then I asked her to imagine singing a lullaby to a child in that imaginary, forgotten language.
When I listened back to the music, it seemed to evoke a lost world. Perhaps a society that once existed in that region of Southern France where all those caves were found containing ancient art. A place where humans have lived since the time of the Cro-Magnons.
From Wordless Melodies to a Lexicon of Word-Sounds
I half expected Chloë to politely tell me she was very busy at the moment, or otherwise find a gentle way to put aside my strange request. But no, Chloë took on the challenge. And in the process, she injected a spirit into the music that brought the songs to life. In other words, she not only saved the project but made the project.
Chloë began by improvising wordless melodies until she found her way into the fabric of each song, discovering a lexicon of word-sounds along the way.
An Otherworldly Guide to a Shadowy World
I outlined a story for Chloë. A sort of mythical tale about a child who begins life in the safety of her mother’s arms and experiences the thrill of Nature’s enchantment in a way modern children seldom do. The child is then lured away from the safety of home and enters a shadowy world, drawn there by her natural curiosity.
It’s not necessary to outline the story in detail because we want listeners to have their own experience with Amialluma. It’s enough to say that with the final track (‘Cherra Leilahi’), a state of serenity is reached.
In a subtle way, Chloë’s voice acts as an otherworldly guide. Leading you through the various landscapes, forests, and grottoes. And finally on board a vessel gliding over waters leading you home. We hope to draw you into the world we’ve painted, and guide you through safely back to wherever it is you are or would like to be.
I’d even be pleased to know that our album helped you off to sleep.