By ELI JACE >
Darkness Sunshine, the debut album from New Indiana, is folk music for the soundscape of dreams.
The sort of album that you put on and instantly fall into a sleepy static buzz. Darkness Sunshine plays out like a day with no plan, like a road wobbling around the base of a mountain in a timeless afternoon.
New Indiana are two longtime friends and musicians, guitarist Randy Bergida and cellist Topu Lyo, who met in Tucson, in 1999 at the University of Arizona.
New Indiana lace together song with only the simple elements of acoustic guitars, hushed vocals and Lyo’s cello.
The strings are plucked and pulled so gingerly and with such paternal care, steadily and with teasing command. Just puffed into the air like magic smoke from sticky fingers. The vibrations it gives off enter the body and float upstream. Drool may drip from your lips while listening.
Darkness Sunshine, available August 17 from Imaginator Records, begins with “Media,” a careful strum through an unknown expanse.
Bergida asks, “Should we talk about ourselves? Should we talk about drugs?” setting the tone of slender contemplation. Throughout the album, whispered on the wind, are the names of many locales. It’s an album of aimless travel and follows the leaves across The Pacific Coast, the Grand Canyon, the Yucatan, Montana. On “Reunion,” movement is the way, finding freedom on the road, driving up the California coast at the start of our new century. “Started out / 1999 / Arizona / Parked in the desert sun.”
The desperation of the horse-hair of the bow scraping across its string on “Palindrome” sears the mind. It’s simple acoustic waltzing on “Deep In A Haze,” the anthem of a listless summer with its refrain: “In a haze / in a haze all day.” A smile on your face as the months dissolve into a humid soup. “Adam” takes on the rhythm of walking through knee-high weeds in a field never traveled.
Darkness Sunshine has that intimate ambiance of someone playing out their soul across the room.
That’s because it was recorded after hours below ground in Brooklyn. The singing is whispered and the echoes aren’t far. Bergida’s harmonies stay low never eclipsing the volume of the guitar. New Indiana are a drunker, more freewheeling Fleet Foxes, sans drums, and with less introspection. These are songs of the moment they were conceived in and nothing more, a low flame fending off the shadows.