August 15, 2013

CD Review: Dreamy Maine folk duo deliver serene experience

'Fortress of the Sun,' Arborea's fifth CD, is better listened to as a whole than piecemeal.


The dreamy folk duo Arborea have released their fifth CD, "Fortress of the Sun," and it's a cool, serene and ethereal musical experience.

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Self-produced in collaboration through the NYC label ESP-Disk'

Based on a four-star scale

Shanti and Buck Curran of Lewiston are the husband-and-wife duo who make up Arborea. Shanti's voice is bell-like, surrounded in a massive reverb with the highs rolled off considerably, like it's wrapped in cotton. Buck's voice is an excellent complement throughout; providing occasional, euphonious accents that lend a roundness of timbre and deepen the character of certain passages. The guitars are clear and crisp with just the right amount of intricacy.

Appropriately opening the CD is "Pale Horse Phantasm," which pulls the listener in with a calming force. From the name of the song to the very last note, Arborea unleash their music to the wind, using their voices and instruments as the bendable elements. It's soothing, yet deliciously painful.

The ringing of soft repetitive voices and surround-sound reverb will illuminate your imagination and spirit. Whether you are a fast-paced individual or a relaxed one, the songs on this CD will deliver the same effect. The different instruments give a worldly feel. They include a hammered dulcimer, which emits a sound typical to music from India, Iran, Asia, China and parts of central Europe.

"Fortress of the Sun" is better listened to as a whole than piecemeal. With open and spacey textures throughout, one can get a sense Arborea are riding on an echo through a galaxy of vague yearnings and colorful mysteries. Soft and hypnotic, this would be an excellent album for meditation. The sounds produced are magical and serene.

You can find "Fortress at the Sun" at and

Kristin DiCara-McClellan is a Portland freelance writer.


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