I Know My Way Is Hard and Steep: The music of the Radiant Obscurity Collective

I Know My Way Is Hard and Steep: The music of the Radiant Obscurity Collective November 11, 2018

A little while ago a Marist seminarian emailed me about his “sacred prog band,” the Radiant Obscurity Collective. I do not know what most of the words in that sentence mean, but I figured I would give the disc a spin; and I really enjoyed it. There’s a strong, ethereal woman’s voice, flutelike and lifting up toward the stars–it’s a voice like a shaft of moonlight, and the arrangements give it a lot of nice dark space to shine in. The guitar and bass are sometimes urgent (“Be Thou My Vision”), sometimes mumbling and meandering. Several songs reminded me of the Raincoats–I considered titling this review Godyshape–if the Raincoats got their lyrics from St Francis and St Thomas Aquinas and Rumi.

You can sample the album here or buy it here. I admit I was not totally sold on tracks 9 – 11, but so much of the rest was haunting and poignant: “Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” “Canticle of the Sun: Death,” “Angelus Domini II” were standouts. And in case you’re wondering, the song titles are very straightforward. If it says “Be Thou My Vision” then that song is the song you will get. You’ll just get an unusually stark version of it. Many of these songs carry the feeling of solitude, the high lonesome place which slowly fills with the radiant presence of the Lord.


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