Ominous Harminus

Idgy Dean

Heavy Cosmic Lumber, 2015

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Brooklyn-native Lindsay Sanwald, aka Idgy Dean, claims Ominous Harminus to be a musical work that would study the “ancient marriage between death, beauty, and community.” This was inspired by an incident that involved someone jumping in front of the subway train that she was traveling in. This is a pretty deep concept indeed, but instead of making some sort of grandiose and bloated concept album out of it, she has chosen to create work that is simple yet gritty.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Ominous Harminus might not sound like a concept album, but it has an ever-present tribal feel that calls up the concept behind it. Almost all songs on the disc start off with thumping drums. This drumming is repetitive, contagious and primal, appearing as if it is calling forth a kind of tribal dance. As best exemplified on the nine-minute opening track “Overture,” the drumming acts like a potter’s wheel, upon which Sanwald builds the song. The drumming is what holds each song together, and this sense of rhythm at its most primordial is what gives the album its very distinctive character.

Sanwald is a passionate singer. She sings words with gusto, as well as with tenderness wherever necessary. But a lot of her singing on this album is simply wordless and flows with the music, like haunting tribal chants. Ominous Harminus is an album of sparseness. Every song is simple and has a flow, and Sanwald uses her vocals to not cause too many ripples in the flow with her words. Instead, she uses them to be one with the flow, creating beautiful harmony.

In this sparse, rhythm-driven album, it is worthy of mentioning that Sanwald does a great job on the guitars. The simplicity of the guitars on this album is very apparent. However, Sanwald uses them effectively to construct warm and melodious – but edgy – harmonies, inspired by dreampop and post punk musical styles.

Sanwald packs in a lot of punches in an album of such economy. There is no doubt that she is aiming to channel not just an emotional energy but a spiritual one into this record. Her fervor for the concept behind Ominous Harminus is undeniable. While most others with such enthusiasm would treat this concept with kid-glove and try to make something fancy and bigger than themselves, Sanwald goes against the grain and elegantly reduces it to abstract minimal songs. This is a pretty cool move; actually, it is badass!

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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