After the sundown comes the mourning. How we deal with death can manifest in a whole host of variations, yet it remains the Great Annihilator, to which all of humanity must submit. For Chris Miner, the brains behind the project solarminds, the passing of his mother catalysed his latest record, Her Spirit Cracked the Sky.
Even though the record is only three tracks, Her Spirit Cracked the Sky is an epic undertaking which takes the listener through a cathartic journey of emotion and inspiration, leaving us feeling tender and raw. Over forty-two minutes, Miner allows the listener inside his grieving process, sharing the sorrow of that most personal and devastating of losses. The three tracks, titled “The Gift”, “The Lie” and “The Visit” are all based on experiences Miner had in losing his mother, but can also be interpreted as his version of the seven stages of grief.
Even though predominantly instrumental, and clearly taking reference points from post-rock influences, to describe Her Spirit Cracked the Sky as a post-rock album would almost be doing it a disservice – the comparisons to twinkly guitarscapes would be too easy to draw, which in turn undersells the potency of Miner’s expression and the ambition of his compositions. Middle cut “The Lie” is our sole chance to hear the maestro’s voice, and it aches with loss. The low rumble noise of a thunderstorm carries over from “The Gift”, providing thematic continuity and reinforcement.
Throughout the making of Her Spirit Cracked the Sky, as well as the regular instrumentation, Miner used a host of percussion instruments – including a shaker he made with bits of bone found in his mom’s ashes. The record’s rich texture derives from this deeply personal approach to foley, with the aforementioned thunderstorms undergirding cicadas and wind-whistle. With solarminds’ invitation to rumination firmly extended, the choice to share in grief is yours.
Her Spirit Cracked the Sky is out now via Mind Altering Records and can be ordered here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck