“Dolphin-assisted births are a thing”, proclaimed the headline of a 2013 Time article about dolphins serving as midwives for human births. But let’s forget about that for a second; focus on Dolphin Midwives, the musical project of Portland harpist Sage Fisher.
Harpist, you say? Yes, and singer too, but while listening I mostly forget about what instruments were used to make the music, and instead get lost in the transformative, fanciful, otherworldly music. Voices are instruments are manipulated and layered, getting us to focus on the whole more than each part.
Classify this as ambient or New Age, but this is not background music. It’s more riveting, attention-grabbing than that, connecting sound to nature’s mysteries, to the most fantastic imaginary world you can imagine.
I said mostly forget because there are songs throughout where we’re accurately aware that someone is playing a harp. The playing is gorgeous, nimble, and in contrast with but complementary towards the more abstract, meandering soundscapes of tracks like the opener “Grass Grow”.
Nature imagery is abundant, in the track titles and in our minds. Liminal Garden is a great title for this type of strange beauty, suggesting new, phantasmagorical vegetative or animal life.