Saxophonist Colin Stetson and violinist Sarah Neufeld's collaborative album begins with an almost cautious frenzy akin to what it must feel like to be born: being moved carefully while bombarded by external stimuli, bathed in wonder.
The album's narrative, as the write-up says, follows "the life of a girl who ages slow as mountains." The compositions masterfully convey the heaviness of a slow-moving life in which the girl experiences all that mortality has to offer on a drawn-out scale. The claustrophobia of With The Dark Hug Of Time stalls the album for a while, but the tumultuous The Rest Of Us and the astounding sorrow of the title track wash it away.
Never Were The Way She Was is stunning, understated and poignant, evoking isolation and yearning for some unnamed thing. Despite some less successful detours, it's a monster of a journey that calls to mind a windswept, brutal white North fraught with life.
Top track: Never Were The Way She Was
Listen to the album here.