Eiyn Sof’sSecret River, Hidden Place (2020) is a deep and intimate study of self discovery. It is a rare and introspective gem that exists now, only for having existed in the past. It is the culmination of old tape recordings, lived experience and time. Folk-stained Canadiana is thoughtfully alloyed with field recordings and introspective lyrics. A gentle voice and lonesome, plucking guitars guide us through the songs of fading memories — memories which slip through the quietude that only long slumbers can afford us. All the while we wait to be pinched from our sleep.
It is rare for a story to begin with time travel. This one does. You can witness it as chords are unplucked and words are unsung into backmasked obscurity. A lilting waltz reveals itself through a ghostly overture as the first discernible words ride forth into the frame on horseback. “On the day that I left,” says a would-be cowpoke, “…You were sailing the skies.” We drift from chord to chord, as a cluster of notes hesitate to resolve. A waning chorus performs its rigid dance at the tip of a refrain before falling into the solace of a familiar ending. A somber tale of change and consequences lies therein. Blessed vocal harmonies pass through the sleepy pangs of traditional riffs as a repurposed acoustic guitar takes a weary traveler through memories. This machine is a dowser’s wand. Its chords ring through the muck of answering -machines and street recordings. Hissing wet roads and growling motors take the soundstage. We recount being played off by a haunted piano once upon a time. We know not to question why the tip jar above its high-back is always full.