Marine Eyes : Chamomile

Every once in a while an album works its way into your brain that truly soothes the soul and calms the buzzing mind. 2020 was a year that I subsisted on ambient and drone music. It was the kind of music that offered what my weary head and heart needed so badly, a reprieve from the madness outside. Bands like Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea, Jonas Munk, Omni Gardens, and Steve Roach brought the sonic sedatives that kept me afloat in my time of need.

I’ve been going through a lot of personal shifts and changes over this past summer. Not pandemics and doom, but just tectonic shifts in my life as kids get older, move on, and leave old pops to ponder what’s next when he’s not as needed as he once was. An album I’ve been leaning on quite a bit lately is the gorgeous Chamomile by Marine Eyes. Marine Eyes is musican/composer/producer Cynthia Bernard. She released her debut idyll on Stereoscenic Records in March of 2021. Chamomile is her debut release with label Past Inside The Present and it showcases her brilliance as an new age/ambient/drone composer.

Chamomile is slow motion bliss.

The ten songs on Chamomile rise like sunset hues over calm water. There’s a house we rent in the fall that sits on a quiet, private lake in southern Michigan. “cocoon” gives me the feeling of sitting on the screened-in porch with a cup of coffee as the sun sleepily makes its entrance over the calm lake. The family still sleeping, there’s a sense of oneness that comes over me in that instance. “cocoon” captures the mystery and the ambivalence in that moment. It’s at once peaceful and melancholy. “magic familiar” has the heft of a walk on the beach, complete with the hum of stirring waters and sun-baked psychedelia. Voices in the distance that blend into a chorus of gauzy release.

Cynthia Bernard mixes voice in her music, giving the proceedings an almost angelic touch. Clouds parting, sunlight coming down like an escalator from the cosmos inviting you to ascend to a higher plane. I get touches of Enya, but they’re very subtle. On “what’s on the inside(featuring City of Dawn)” Bernard creates walls of glorious reverb-drenched vocals. This song has an incandescence to it; meaning escapes in the cavernous ebb and flow as if the song’s beating heart welcomes you into its sonic chambers. “suspended universe” goes into Cocteau Twins territory with almost pop sensibilities as her vocals sit front and center. Pure transcendence.

Cynthia Bernard, aka Marine Eyes, described the album as pieces of journal entries, and wanted these ten songs “to feel like new entries–distilled miniature worlds of my creative process and inner life.” I feel she has done that with Chamomile. You can feel the people and places that helped make this album a reality. The textures and voices in the music come out as living things. They invite you in, lovingly with wide open sonic arms.

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