Words by Kathleen Savage
In strange and uncertain times, we are reminded that the beauty of spring still continues all around us; Wax Machine’s ‘Earthsong of Silence’ fell to the earth at a time of turbulence and chaos, it serves as a gentle reminder that music and art will keep on breathing and thriving through the turmoil of our current climate. Wax Machine is mostly the brainchild of Lau Ro, but he has a host of quirky troubadours who have helped to assist in the musical making of the album (such as singer/songwriter Woody Green on bass). Behind the scenes, Go Kurosawa (Kikagaku Moyo) produced the album, lending a guiding hand as he helped Lau and his troupe to navigate the twists and turns of ‘Earthsong of Silence’.
Wax Machine are an ever evolving, ever changing cosmic force – and this album proves that they have their feet in the door of many eclectic avenues; the fusion of tropicalia, krautrock and ‘spiritual jazz’ is apparent through every song. Lau Ro’s guitar sometimes sounds like it’s wandering off into a mossy palace of psychedelic wonder, but Isobel Jones and her delicate yet sumptuous flute dances through each track, bringing us back to a strange reality with the help of Toma’s earthy yet fluid drum grooves.
The song ‘Time Machine’ stood out for me, Jones’ sugary vocals and sparkling flute offer up a plate of playful innocence which moves and grooves its way in and out of humourous backing vocals and guitar riffs dripping in honey. ‘Shade’ is the single that was taken from the album, and like many of Wax Machine’s songs it almost sounds like a mantra that comes from a place of peaceful reflection and introspection. “I sit in the shade, and I breathe the trees…” is something I feel we could all benefit from at this time. Unlike their previous releases, the vocals take more of a driving-seat among a small number of songs; however, the words are often repetitive and hypnotic, perhaps so they don’t get tangled amongst the undergrowth of fragrant and intricate sound. It is clear that Wax Machine take influence from an interesting brew of groups across the globe, such as Os Mutantes, Can, Alice Coltrane and Fripp. This exotic blend of inspiration makes for a melting pot of kaleidoscopic, funky and sometimes even surreal sounds.
The earth-song that we must sing as a collective is a song of stillness, of unity with nature and a message of deep healing and contemplation for a future draped in music and art – a message that runs clear and true through the entire record.
Earthsong Of Silence was released 20th March 2020 on Beyond Beyond waxmachine.bandcamp.com/album/earthsong-of-silence
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