[sic] Magazine

Ivy Meadows – Zodiac

Zodiac is set up to fall foul of musical naffness at every turn and yet it avoids every trap. Let us explain how, but first a little context. Originally the only musical component of Rachel Day’s Zodiac-themed mailing list (which also distributed prints, zines and other astrology-themed artwork and who appears, at least in spirit, on one of the tracks here), Ivy Meadows is actually the solo project of Camilla Padgitt-Coles. Dug up for redistribution by the ever-reliable Moon Glyph and presented via twelve vignettes where each of the signs is intriguingly titled in Catalan, a 75+ minute session of new age electronics may initially seem a bit of a slog for your casual listener, but actually engage with these ambient drones and zen harmonies and you may find something surprising happening.

It’s too cliché to describe Zodiac is terms of pure meditation; for a start, if it were to be used for meditative purposes, it’s sleek lines and futuristic blend of patterning synths, autoharp and strings would conjure images of the holodeck’s personalised bliss programme rather than some flowery hippy-dippy nonsense. And yet rhythmic throbs and aquatic chime-work do let the ambience bloom before your closed eyes when otherwise they might have passed unnoticed, tinny drones swarming to acupuncturist points in order to needle home a feeling more intense than mindfulness just in case you didn’t get the memo. And all this before Zodiac’s crowning moment of clarity; the opening bars of “Géminis” click you back into the room instantly, its gently coalescing twelve minutes of electronica deftly and skilfully allowed to grow and exhale organically, a definite rhythm ticking ever onward like a heartbeat, angelic loops cooing their way on up to the heavens throughout.

Straight back in the isolation tank, the insulated fuzz tones of “Lleó” that follow are then so tactile you just wanna reach out and stroke them in the same was Padgitt-Coles’ honeyed vocal melody does – a tool which repeatedly helps the listen swerve the piped muzak of saunas you may still be expecting and which elsewhere keeps Zodiac’s pillowy cloudworld cutting-edge thanks to clipped choral parts. Zodiac thus offers a welcome take on transportative meditation, offering as it does a gentle voyage into one’s own personal subconscious, a trip that is at once strangely uplifting and totally life-affirming, its closing exchanges lingering long after thye’ve stopped playing like some kind of Avant-classical masterclass as heard from the safe confines of a padded cell.

Best track: “Géminis”

~Zodiac is out now via Moon Glyph.~