Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dark Matter

CD Review

Written and performed by Lynne Duddy.  Musical soundscape by a cappella singing sensation Emily Post. Available from CD Baby ( $10.00 (CD) or $9.99 (MP3) 

Reviewed by Linda Goodman

            “Have you ever been afraid of the dark?” Lynne Duddy asks in the introduction to her powerful and thought-provoking CD Dark Matter. Her haunting, hypnotic voice then proceeds to guide the listener on a trip through the dark side, a journey filled with wonder, science, love, and more than a little mystery.

            The stories begin with an Amazon Creation Myth about an anaconda that introduces light to the world through song. Substance, we are told, comes from nothing and it takes faith to believe in this concept. That faith is the central theme of the stories on this recording.

            9 to 4 takes us to a cemetery at night, where a large, seemingly foreboding, stranger awaits. Can we trust without evidence of trustworthiness?  Can we have faith in our instincts? The shades of truth in this story are subtle, yet powerful.  I listened to it over and over, just for the beauty of the telling.

            Vera’s Story shares the history of Vera Reuben, the woman who in 1951 unlocked the mystery of stars rotating in spiral galaxies. Sadly, Ms. Reuben was born in a time and place where astronomers did not take women’s research seriously. Her work did, however, lead to the discovery of dark matter in the 1970’s.  Can we have faith in our destiny, even when society contradicts all that we hold dear?

            Lightning features two young girls whose fascination with lightning leads them to become “blood brothers.” This sacred moment taken in secret leads to harsh punishment and the revelation of an ugly truth. Can we have faith that all will be well, in spite of that truth?

            Into the Mist is a beautiful story about the misunderstandings between a woman and her dying father, and how those misunderstandings are resolved before it is too late. How sad to have such a heavy weight lifted so late in life’s journey! Can we have faith that our loved ones understand that harsh words are just old hurts turned hard?

            Lost and Found is a tale of stumbling upon an old memory on a country drive that spurs a quest for a missing piece of the past. Can faith mend a tear in our personal fabric?

            The stories on this CD are well-written and wonderfully told.  There are no breaks between stories, so listening to them feels like being at a concert. The musical soundscape provided by Emily Post is grand, but often threatens to overwhelm the stories. At times I felt that the music was competing for attention, when I would have preferred that it accent the stories.

            I fear the darkness, but at the same time I yearn for it. These stories helped me realize that darkness makes the light more brilliant, and I take comfort in that. Duddy tells us that we should “have faith that everything will be all right, and even if it isn’t, everything will be okay.”  I believe her.

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