Ambient artist Rew is lovingly leaning in the direction of ‘Backyard of Astral Blooms’ – Leisure – Columbus Alive

The experimental musician’s new visual album will be released on Friday

For the visual artist and musician Rachel Wagner, who records and performs as Rew, inspiration often begins in nature.

“It definitely starts with this idea of ​​showing nature, but also sharing things that have never been seen before,” Wagner recently said on the phone. “I want to show the impression of humanity in nature and the chaos. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about through part of my activism and volunteering for the Clean Energy Campaign and thinking about climate change and what’s on the horizon for our planet. “

The new visual album Garden of Astral Blooms, released on Friday, January 29th via Whited Sepulcher Records, began with a series of field recordings, some of which Wagner did during the Voice of the Valley music festival in the mountains of West Virginia The chirping of the cicadas almost drowned out the audience. “And then I manipulated these and made them weird,” said the experimental artist, who used a Korg Volca FM synthesizer to create melodies that she superimposed on these mutated field recordings. “Once I got the musical sketches going, I created the visual ideas for each song.”

These visual companions, collected on, add an extra dimension to haunted traces. Experience the digital video for “Sunlit Glass”, in which a creeping shadow slowly extends over a stained glass pattern and animations of lightning flashes accompany static outbursts in the soundscape. “Outgrate”, on the other hand, begins near the surface and combines the view of the sky through a canal grille with the mutated chirping of birds before it dives back below the surface. Here, underground, the underground images match the sounds, with noises that suggest invisible animals scurrying into dark corners.

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Initially a visual artist, Wagner became interested in music after discovering the experimental music scene in Pittsburgh, including artists like Spednar and {arsonist} who have been credited with changing her understanding of what music could be. “They really got me to where I could close my eyes when I saw these sets and the music sparked my imagination,” said Wagner, who moved to Columbus two years ago and has since discovered a similar community that focuses on the fuse factory. “That got me into it, and then I started to see what I could do with the Volca FM and took what I had learned with animation and video editing and applied the same area to the audio.”

Wagner traced her fascination for the outdoors back to childhood growing up in southwest Pennsylvania not far from Pittsburgh, where she regularly camped with her family and spent countless hours hiking and exploring the forest. In college, Wagner spent a semester abroad in Australia, where she had the opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef. “And that’s something I still appreciate because I know the reefs are something we’re losing as a planet,” she said. “This is an example that got me back to the idea that humanity doesn’t necessarily live in harmony with all of the beauty we have here on the planet.”

But despite the darker tones embedded in Astral Blooms, the record is imbued with both beauty and hope, especially with the album ending “Fragile Abundance” which ends the process on a deliberately optimistic note.

“I think I always try to look for hope, and I have described this project as a practice of optimism,” said Wagner, who traced this promising trait back to the natural beauty she found in exploring places like Metro Parks continued to be observed. “I bring in elements of sadness, but there is definitely also a bit of celebration and hope.”

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