[sic] Magazine

Celestial North – Otherworld

There is no such thing as a coincidence.

Celestial North is a Scottish folk/indietronica, dreampop artist who now bases herself in Cumbria. Having been active for a few years already, Otherworld is her first long playing release. She describes her music as “Viking dreamfolk” and its associated artwork, lyrics and publicity are all highly suggestive of a person deeply in touch with nature.

As to the coincidence part – when Celestial North messaged me I happened to be in Avebury, the English heritage site and home to the largest stone circle in Europe. It is a place both of tranquillity and energy – as indeed is the music of Celestial North. One spin of her album had me venturing toward the crystal shop. Yet her music ought not to be dismissed as mere background for the esoteric minded. This debut is rich, varied and nuanced. ‘Yarrow’ (see video below) showcases Celestial Norths cosmic side but there are other moments here with more of a techno/chillout vibe. If her presentation feels, at times, almost wilfully mysterious, Celestial Norths underlying message is both thoughtful and humble.

There are moments where Otherworld brings to mind acts such as Grouper. However, Celestial North doesn’t remain as steadfastly saturated and ambient as Miss Harris. Hers is a wider sonic and thematic pallet closer, arguably, to someone like Sol Seppy or even Grimes. Witness the title and lead track here which is a terrific example of the power of mindfulness all wrapped up in a trancey swirl.

The faeries at the bottom of the garden didn’t make this music but it might just be what they listen to at 5AM on the way home from a club.

Thus we step forth into a world of nature and wonder. Yet even the sceptics among us may do so without fear or trepidation. Any spiritual or naturalistic message here remains subtle. We don’t need to burn sage, hug trees or hang dreamcatchers to appreciate this. Celestial North is the dreamcatcher and Otherworld is the sound of those captured reveries.

I enjoyed Otherworld a lot. Plus I think I needed it. As a teleworker who stares at screens both for a living and for recreational purposes I started to miss the touch of the earth beneath my feet. This album delivers exactly that feeling.

Looking for a guiding compass? I think we all need to start following North.

Celestial North produced the album together with Matthew ‘Woody’ Wood (Sea Power) who also mixed the record. A few copies of the limited edition CD are still available via her Bandcamp.

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