Gabrielle Giguère (Her Harbour) has a minimalist approach to making music. In her debut Winter’s Ghost, Giguère leans only on a dulcimer or a keyboard while DIY orchestral sounds flutter in the background. Go Gently into the Night has even less instrumentation than its predecessor. Songs pass and is seems as if Giguère stands alone. It’s only with a closer listen, headphones on, the volume turned up, and the world shut off, that you hear she is in fact not alone. It’s a record best listened to in the dead of night.
“In Nude, In Fog and River” is a silent and somber baptismal dip into a freezing river – any screams are muffled underwater. “Memento Mori” is a cool nighttime breeze through a window that was left open by accident. “Lovers Lay” is a gentle whisper under the covers.
And yet, Go Gently into the Night is a really heavy record. The light instrumentation (a piano and strings mostly) cannot counteract Giguère’s voice which is so dense with emotion – most prominently sadness and confusion. Each track bends under this plangency. On opener “Hewing Crowns,” Giguère is unable to stand so she drags her body back and forth across a room in anguish and “Death Mask” mirrors death’s heavy, stalking, footsteps. On “Come Half Moon” Philippe Charbonneau’s double bass is pronounced to add further weight to the song meanwhile Giguère wields incredible power as she summons the half moon and proclaims, “long live the King, the King is dead.”
By album’s end it’s unclear if the night will ever end or if the sun is about to peak over the horizon.
Top Tracks: “Come Half Moon” ; “Lovers Lay”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)