Book Review: Sheet Music
Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., April 12, 2013
Mel Kadel/((sounder))It Rained All Day (Unpiano Books)
Throughout literature, floods represent the destruction of evil – a brutal and vicious cleansing. While it's unclear what ills the water erases in Mel Kadel's illustrated book and accompanying 7-inch vinyl single, this isn't Noah's flood. Along with the soundtrack from Austin's Michael David Aho – ((sounder)) – Kadel creates a fantastical world where surging waters take on warm oranges and sharp, neat peaks as a raven-haired heroine attempts to escape against lushly patterned backdrops. Aho's original song of the same title is a quiet, longing score, with his thin tenor narrating against a bassline of heavy rain. While lovely as discrete works, the two cannot be separated once taken together. Kadel's colors beg for the climactic flourishes in Aho's composition, while the ornate, hand-cut paper layerings populate the song's points of soothing reiteration. Combined, they trace the delicate exploration of a watery world well within our reality. As the song winds to a close, our guide gets pulled out of the sea by tangled cloths, and the final lines of a whimsical and haunting journey fade into uncertainty: "We'll live inside the shipping crates/A life stowed away/Until the tide brings us home again/If there's a god worth its pray."