Gillian Stone Invoke’s a Spirit of Transformation in Overcoming Self-Destructive Habits on “Raven’s Song”

Gillian Stone, photo courtesy the artist

A slow roiling background drone establishes a dreamlike atmosphere in Gillian Stone’s “Raven’s Song.” Metallic percussion rings out and clatters creating a deep sense of space, psychological and otherwise. Stone’s vocals echo slightly with a touch of reverb singing in mythical terms of carrying the weight of guilt and self-oppression in the line “I hold a torch for a devil” and later about taking that torch to the river and how it casts a blinding light but drowing “in the river to snuff its life.” And yet “Drowning in the river to stay alive.” It is a delicate tangle with a spirit of self-destruction that has settled into your psyche and finding ways of casting it aside or at least diminishing its hold on you and establishing habits and practices to keep it in check. The symbol of the Raven is a complex one whose meaning is similar in both Native American spiritual tradition and in that of European cultures, particularly in Norse mythology. The aspect of prophecy, insight, transformation and as a link between the physical world and that of spirit and as a symbol of a primordial existence from a time before the only world we’ve ever known also points to truths of life and cognition that flow back from a time when there was no formal language and how that has manifested in culture and civilization in forms approximating that understanding and the song draws upon that knowledge that is one of the foundations of consciousness and mythology. The song in establishing an almost meditative feel with the musical arrangements and Stone’s ritualistic vocal delivery links into those associations to resonate on a level beyond the accessible, experimental pop format that draws you into its more layered content. The music video for the song directed by Emma Buchanan, Amir Heidarian and Stone herself is appropriately mysterious and often a white haze field is in frame with a transparent silhouette of, presumably, Stone singing and gesturing like she is connecting with an archetype in the process of finding guidance through the challenge of the journey presented in the lyrics. Watch the video on YouTube and follow Stone at the links provided. Her new album Spirit Photographs released on November 18, 2022.

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Author: simianthinker

Editor, primary content provider for this blog. Former contributor to Westword and The Onion.

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