Mind Over Mirrors

Chicago, IL

bellowingsun-band-1-Saverio Truglia

Mind Over Mirrors are responsible for 2018’s most engrossing and audacious experimental album. The twelve-track wonder Bellowing Sun winds through an ever-shifting maze of pulsing electronics and radiant drones, ecstatic trances and electrifying hillbilly rock, creating a seamless fusion that seems to alter the listener’s very perception of time and space. Though cast in the grand traditions of Faust, Neu!, and Harry Partch (just to sample), it is vibrant and modern music, pulling decades of experimental erudition into a singular, uninterrupted moment of intensity.

Jaime Fennelly began Mind Over Mirrors around the start of the decade, using harmonium and synthesizer to create music that was at once mesmerizing and hyperkinetic, that had the immersive feeling of a drone but the energy of techno. (In this way, one clear antecedent for Mind Over Mirrors is the raga form.) The project steadily grew more complex, with 2013’s great When the Rest Are Up at Four suggesting a wider scope for Fennelly’s future. Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux added guest vocals for 2015’s The Voice Calling and then joined an actual ensemble of voices, drums, and violin for the half step Undying Color. On Bellowing Sun, that band (minus Fohr) plays with perfect unison and power, with spellbinding singing from Janet Beveridge Bean, powerful fiddling from Califone’s Jim Becker, and trance-like thunder from Hopscotch alumnus Jon Mueller. Live, these sounds fill all available space, the tones and volume and melodies suggesting an enormous neon glow. Mind Over Mirrors has been an interesting project for a decade; right now, they’re one of the United States’ most vital experimental ensembles.