LACE BOWS “Earth Tunnels” C31 (OTA)

EARTH TUNNELS begins with a sample of a song from the 1950s or 1960s, a song I don’t recognize and neither does Shazam (god knows I tried). The effect is similar to the vibe in Terry Gilliam’s TWELVE MONKEYS when Bruce Willis’s Cole catches snippets of old songs on a car radio, or when he returns to Earth’s present (our future) to be woken by “Blueberry Hill.” It’s sweet, it’s nostalgic, but it’s also harrowing, especially when, on “I Saw Earth Leaving through This Tunnel,” the song decays, slowing down before transitioning into a field recording of what sounds like the Rossio train station in Lisbon (the announcements and conversational snippets are not in English, that’s for sure, and Lace Bows is from Portugal, so, 2+2=4!). That transitions too, and it’s as if Lace Bows is wandering from location to location, recording the music playing in the outdoor spaces, looping it, fidgeting with it until it unfurls, trancelike, and becomes part of our own background. The music fades and crowd noise continues, until it, too, is overtaken by the next phase of the track, a pensive drone that approximates cosmic travel.

And it’s here that we have to consider what is meant by EARTH TUNNELS, and “I Saw Earth Leaving through This Tunnel,” because the evolution of the sounds suggests a passage of time and perspective. The past fades quickly, the modern – our present – also fades, although it takes a bit longer, until the evolution is complete, and there’s no more earthly sounds, just the drone of the universe. But that’s just side A – side B, simply titled “-,” emerges from the drone, as if from, ahem, a tunnel, and traverses similar paths as side A (field recordings of outdoor musicians, crowds, stations), but this time, instead of allowing the field recordings to simply exist on their own, Lace Bows traces a musical undercurrent beneath the samples, creating a different experience. By the end of “-,” Lace Bows’s music and a song fragment meld together perfectly, as if they were meant for each other. Does this mean that Lace Bows is outlining through sound a blueprint for human evolution? Or is it meant as a document to be studied by a far-distant iteration of humanity, somewhat like “Blueberry Hill” in TWELVE MONKEYS, or even an unknown civilization? Or is it something completely different?

Something to think about. Whatever it is, EARTH TUNNELS is fascinating to listen to.

Lace Bows

--Ryan Masteller