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  • Nathan Yoder

Recommended Listening: Federico Mosconi - Dreamers and Tides

In chapter 29 of Sharon Creech's YA classic (and Newberry Award winning) Walk Two Moons, there unfolds a rather inconsequential scene during which an overly-enthusiastic middle school teacher named Mr. Birkway reads a Longfellow poem titled The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls to his class. For your reference, here is the poem in its entirety:

The tide rises, the tide falls,

The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;

Along the sea-sands damp and brown

The traveler hastens toward the town, And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,

But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;

The little waves, with their soft, white hands,

Efface the footprints in the sands,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls

Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;

The day returns, but nevermore

Returns the traveler to the shore,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Mr. Birkway's class erupts. One student expresses that the poem feels gentle, the words almost putting her to sleep. Sal (the novel's protagonist), exclaims that the imagery is terrifying and alludes to the inevitability of death. Later in the book, Mr. Birkway uses a visual tool to teach his class that finding meaning in literature is up to each reader, and that no single correct interpretation exists. Gotta love YA lit. Really, though, Walk Two Moons is an enchanting read so check it out if you missed it back in the day.

I can't rag too much on Sharon Creech or Mr. Birkway because I've taught middle school lit for a decade now, and am about to launch into a couple of my own heavy-handed, awkward connections. Music appreciation, just like literature interpretation is subjective (obviously), and like Longfellow's poem, the new album by Federico Mosconi titled Dreamers and Tides feels both gentle and terrifying. Oof.

Photo taken from the artist's Bandcamp page.

Clumsy transition aside, let's focus now on Dreamers and Tides - a truly incredible album. Mosconi is an Italian guitarist well versed in multimedia composition. On his new work for Russian label, Dronarivm, he straddles space between grounded reality and dreamlike imagination, the music capturing both the tangible and ethereal. On opening track Beyond the Big Horizon, Mosconi builds a deafening wall of sound, but then peels it back, revealing a shimmering landscape on Braiding Light. This loud/soft relationship carries through the album as ambient-tinged post-rock melodies continue to build and fade. On Dance of Slow Waters, we are treated to delicate finger picking, and on album closer Colours Chase, a blindingly bright crescendo. So although the album follows an overall arc, there are plenty of dynamic elements within the sound. Just the other day we here at DC were reflecting on our recent gravitation toward minimalist structures, but then a maximalist piece like Dreamers and Tides drops, and we're hooked right back in by gorgeous layers of noise.

You can find the album for streaming and purchase through this link (it came out last Friday), and hear a sample track below. For Walk Two Moons check your local library or virtually any used paperback store.


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