Spirit Radio, the duo of Tamalyn Miller and Stephen Spera, have recently released A Light Is Running Along The Ropes via Bandcamp as well as in a collectible and handmade special limited edition of only 50. The edition ($14) comes in a shroud-like “spirit bag” and includes artwork by Spera, an additional print and poem – and it looks like a serious creative labor of love to those so lucky to nab one (I wish more artists would do this). Guided by wispy drones, soft crackling hiss and curvaceous vocal shaping this record has an ethereal improvised gloss. A light is running along the ropes_copper free-morphs guitar and atmosphere like taffy. Miller’s vocal is youthful and sing-song like a schoolyard kid, perfectly blended within the shifting central harmony on Earthbound. These talented multi-instrumentalists keep your ears purcolating with subtle and strident samples, synths and strings.
By its title alone you might imagine tuning into the other-worldly, and while that is true for some points on this long-player, there are salient moments of folky tonalities (sitar, fiddle) that drift in and out, like a mythical, momentary lapse in time. Such tracks showcase this really well like on the mysterious Sea Monk, a meditation of vocal sighs. A Light Is Running Along The Ropes is adrift in messages, siren calls and digital detritus, though its soul is freestyle and ample with warm light to midtonal shimmer. Over the album’s course of eleven tracks you are transported to various short narratives (The Poisoned Knight, Time and Dust, I Took A Long Walk). It’s broken up by tracks about metals and alloys like copper, silver and mercury. As a voice descants “right into the silver light” I’m imagining a time when alchemy and Earthly resources had a higher value, a time that has been obfuscated by industry and greed. If that’s the central kernel than this stands by all means as a reparation for our times. After a range of acoustic experimentation A light is running along the ropes: mercury is by far the most seductive here, offering a conclusion that is effervescent, elusive and brilliantly ambient in a classic sense. Fleeting forlorn strings create a dampened mood over what sounds like a field recording of light rain. It just beams as its whispering jewelry-box tones fade away.