reviewed by Michael Thomas
When you’re younger, faeries seem like the kind of beautiful thing you want to befriend and/or become. But as you get older you’ll realize the faerie are nasty creatures, more likely to ruin your life than make it better. Faeries are all over Seelie, the latest entry in the multimedia project KIN Fables by Sebastian McKinnon.
The project features short films, a graphic novel currently being written with eventual plans for a feature film, but the most current entry is musical. McKinnon, himself a violinist, pairs with Charlotte Oleena (Sea Oleena) for a journey through magic. The music itself sounds like the kind of epic music you might hear on a soundtrack of a movie about faeries, but it’s a lot more complex than that.
If you’re familiar with Sea Oleena than you’ll guess her vocals are pretty perfect for music like this. Violin and electronic experimentation form the musical backbone of the project; the violin flits in and out of certain songs while others just use samples and beats to build something just as magical. Oleena’s vocals are rarely decipherable, but that’s really just another layer to it all—it feels like she’s speaking in an unknown language as you enter the faerie world.
And the faerie world is vast. “The Faerie Court” has two versions, “Under Sun” and “Under Moon,” but both start with a vocal sample and bass-driven beats. But the “Moon” version goes on two minutes longer and gets much busier as Oleena’s vocals drift in and out and the violin almost comes to the forefront. Unsurprisingly, “Dark Angel” is the darkest song on the album, with pitch-modified vocals pairing with dense beats, perhaps showing the most evil side a faerie can have. “Unseelie” on the other hand shows off the duality of what faeries can offer—while Unseelie faeries are generally dark, the song shifts between two distinct parts, one of urgent, almost clubby music and the other being a slow, mournful piano-based part.
Violin takes more of the forefront on songs like “The Stolen Child,” which creates an expansive soundscape before beats come in around the two-minute mark. It also intertwines with beautiful piano on “Once Again” to make the particular song feel like it’s flying into the sky.
After the long journey through the realm of the faeries, there’s the final, nearly 10-minute song “I Hold You.” It’s a breath of fresh air and perhaps the first song where everything Oleena sings is understandable. It’s a very quiet song in comparison to the others, and you can hear her sing “It’s all right, we’re all right” and later “I’ll be here to hold you, I’ve got you.” Perhaps you’ve escaped from the faeries or it’ another one luring you in.
Seelie is a lot to process, an album with many twists and turns. There’s no doubt a bit of magic in the air.
Top Tracks: “Closer”; “The Faerie Court (Under Moon)”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)