At nearly an hour-long, The Widowed Earth is an endurance challenge at first glance, but the pay off is well worth the personal investment of time.
A reflection of Dos Floris’ own personal struggles, The Widowed Earth is a crossfire of several genres amalgamating to become The Widowed Earth. With selections of electronica, pop, indie, dream-pop, you name it; Dos Floris displays that her skill as a musician isn’t bound to one definitive choice. Instead, Dos Floris creates astounding soundscapes, which resonate grace, intelligence and pure heaven, similar to MONEY, Zola Jesus, Kate Bush or Björk.
Each individual track on The Widowed Earth, unfolds into another chapter into the story of Dos Floris and her inquisitive style of genre blending. Even on the opener, From The Beginning (which sounds like an excerpt from CLPPING), The Widowed Earth opens up into a deception of its isolated cover, starting with a blast of confusion that sounds as if a gun is being loaded into a VCR, rather than the expected piano or string arrangement you’d be expecting from a cover that features the isolated grey image.
Similarly on Rivers (the following track), a fairy tale from the first appearance of a flute, then greeted by manipulated drum techniques and Floris’ eerie yet enchanting vocals, Floris becomes an isolated isotope, before erupting into a near battle roar, creating a sense of disbelief that such power could resonate so early on in an LP.
It’s not all fairy tales and nursery rhymes with Floris however; even if one of the LP’s singles do feature a line or two from Humpty Dumpty.
I’m talking about All The Kings Horses of course. The first definitive sign that The Widowed Earth wasn’t going to perform as you may have first thought, Floris’ gentle, warm tones open up All The King Horses favourably. Then once joined with a force of tribal drum beats and mystic electronics, All The King Horses descends into a spell of tension loaded brilliance, growing more dramatic and intense as each minute progresses, before quickly disbanding into a quiet piano rhythm, which fades into the night air.
Yet in a completely different form, Walking In The Night is completely unstructured, following a path of pure delusion that deceives you into following the same path as you encounter a swarm of music altercations that bring to mind the pinnacle of any horror game, twisted and malevolent, but then abruptly ending, rewarding your momentary fear with peace and comfort. While you may have thought that the weird, elusive horror of Floris has dispersed, the intricate mind of Floris unleashes further waves of horror, confusion and comfort throughout the whole of Walking In The Night.
While Floris’ musical amalgamations are intuitive (and also beyond confusing), it is however, on Floris’ most personal moment of the LP, the closer, To The Wolves Pt. II/I, where her heart and soul is bearded towards you, and when I honestly fell in love with The Widowed Earth (as I imagine you will too).
Her vocals begin subdued and quiet, slowly rising with power and strength throughout these eight minutes, as each passing second becomes more awe-inspiring than the last. It’s not until the finale of To The Wolves Pt. II, that the goose bumps effect takes place, freezing your body, as Floris’ music fully captivates every muscle in your body into a state of pure shock and bliss. Then carried onto Pt. I, the line “something’s coming straight ahead” carry a beacon of hope towards the finish line of The Widowed Earth, before falling silent at an instant, as if waking up from a dream.
Complex on purpose, created to entice listeners to live out a story of their own through the eyes of Dos Floris, The Widowed Earth creates its own, personal world, where nothing is at it seems. But yet this lack of familiarity is oddly comfortable. As humans sudden changes to what we know (and know well) are startling and threatening. Floris knows this, yet she seems to have discovered how to counteract this raw emotion with complete mastery. I’m not saying Dos Floris is from another realm, but her skill as a musician, clearly knows no Earthly bounds.