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  • Bryon Harris

idylls - 'carefully out of Nowhere'

idylls describes themselves a "Troupe Laureate of the (perhaps fictitious) nation of Mystopia." The ambitious project was started by Adam Black and features Adam on guitar and vocals; Zhao Liang on Guzheng ; Jeremiah Moon, cello; Lester Wong, violin; Angeline Armstrong, vocals; Alex Loakim, clarinet; Joseph Cheek, piano; Caleb Buse, Moog; and Jack Thomson, percussion. Lyrically inspired by the works of ee cummings and William Carlos Williams, with an eclectic menagerie of influences from Steve Reich to Peter Gabriel, idylls paints a landscape that sounds both organic and grounded and spiritual or from another world. Off their EP “carefully out of Nowhere”, their single “mourning marrow” is a beautiful introduction to the group’s refined talent.

morning marrow opens with mesmerizing finger-picking on multiple organic instruments, guitar and Guzheng ( which is in the Zither family). The Guzheng offers delicate rasgueado strumming and beautiful bell-like motifs. Deep percussion enters giving the song a mysterious heartbeat. A somber, melodic cello line joins. Tasteful phrasing dance above the track like sparkles of light. The cello and violin weave their chamber phrases around the melody for an orchestral vibe. A nice pizzicato provides engaging rhythmic content. Light percussion shows artful restraint adding only what is necessary. idylls brilliantly combines classical and ancient folk elements for a spellbinding and masterful performance that is instantly impressive and refreshingly new.

Adam Black enters singing, "Will this head ever be fit to wear a crown? So often in my weakness it comes tumbling down… what more could i be given?“ Immediately, Adam’s voice resonates. He possesses a pure vocal tone that is very easy to listen to and expressive. He sings with a humble authenticity. This is important because the songs on ‘’carefully out of Nowhere’ consists of rich lyrical content that requires a vocalist of Adam’s caliber.

Composed by Adam Black and Jeremiah Moon, mourning marrow explores themes of spirituality, mythology, fiction and poetry. The song paints a landscape that captivates you like a great fantasy novel or medieval film. Elements of Christianity are heard throughout: “I’ve done evil and I’m wicked, but your blood has come and lifted me from death; the holiness I can’t attain, rendered on a cross.” Redemption is a major theme: “Wash me white as snow, take this broken hear in tow!” There is a raw and brave honesty heard in the broken bones and tempting flesh of this song that is ultimately about hope. Wisdom and sophistication permeate the music of idylls along with very fine musicianship. The arrangements are artistic and sophisticated; the lyrics are poetic and meaningful with deep spiritual roots; the vocals are pure and true; and the performance could hold it’s own in a chamber or folk series - idylss is a group that will mesmerize you.

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