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coverpic flag US - Wisconsin - Full Moon 216 - 04/15/14

S. Carey
Range of Light
Jagjaguwar

S. Carey, or Sean Carey, is known as the drummer, percussionist and backing vocalist of Bon Iver (Carey and Justin Vernon both hail from Eau Claire, Wisconsin), but on the side, over the last six years, he's quietly built a solo carreer. Carey released his debut solo album, All We Grow (Jagjaguwar) in 2010, and now his second platter, Range of Light has been launched to the public.

Jagjaguwar describes Carey's music as being "...a hugely beatific, restorative panorama of beauty...". The label also states that Range of Light has taken its title from the name that 19th century Scottish-American author, naturalist, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness [in the US] John Muir gave to the Sierra Nevada, and follows suit with a dazzling array of musical light and shade, drawn from Carey's love of jazz, modern classical and Americana. Further Jagjaguwar say: "...like a weathered mountain range changing shadow form and color, or the ebb and flow of a river's current, S. Carey's music is simultaneously restful and rhythmic, complex and simple, and always evolving." Different, but not difficult pop music in constant motion, right.

According to Carey himself his music "has specific connections to nature and place, my surroundings, and my experiences". Carey studied classical percussion and piano at the University, and have picked inspiration from minimalists such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Carey's harmonies and has been compared to Brian Wilson's (his 2004 album Smile), but his music has also been linked to artists like Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine, José González (just listen to "Fire-scene"), Sufjan Stevens, and even to Mark Hollis' Talk Talk. Range of Light presents nine tracks, and from the opening, see-through "Glass/Film" to the closing, rippling "Neverending Fountain", Carey builds fascinating, border-crossing (and genre-crossing) soundscapes or sound-capsules. His tender, almost brittle and fragile little songs wave quietly and carefully in the wind. "Alpenglow" is almost mindblowingly beautiful, making you gasp for air, with its glowing inner energy. So is "The Dome", and the closing track "Neverending Fountain". Carey is quite clearly inspired by Sufjan Stevens, just check out "Crown The Pines", or "Fleeting Light".

Range of Light is so pleasant and comforting that it's nearly a too comfortable listen. This is almost musical therapy. Elegant and graceful music maintaining good mental hygiene. Songs that balance your life, your mind, your soul. To quote Carey himself: The term, 'Range of Light', to me, denotes the spectrum of light and dark a person can have in their life - peaks and valleys of happiness, sorrow, challenges and growth - for me most recently and more specifically: marriage, having a baby, and maintaining a spiritual connection to nature, place, friends and family as an adult".

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our S. Carey article/review: Supermoon EP.

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