Melissa Grey and David Morneau – Always Becoming | Nature
Always Becoming is a collaborative EP from the trio of Melissa Grey, David Morneau, and Robert Kirkbride. The record is inspired by Kirkbride’s metaphysically inclined compositions on the tilted view of seasonal cycles and the nature of being, non-being, and change.
Grey and Morneau, the award-winning producers and composers, have teamed up with exceptional artists and musicians for their Elemental Themes series. The EP is the second installment in the series that explores elemental themes of time, space, nature, language, and dance. Their Flower Cat Media production company has been recognized by the Foundation of Contemporary Arts. In 2018, they were named the Joan C. Edwards Distinguished Professors of the Arts at Marshall University.
Always Becoming, released on March 7, 2023, features four instrumental compositions for acoustic guitar. The EP utilizes Kirkbride’s original pieces, enhanced by the ethereal yet natural production techniques of Grey and Morneau. The trio blends organic and electronic elements into a transcendent soundscape designed to be played in an endless loop.
The track titles – Being, Always, Ever, and Becoming – offer a contemplative and intriguing glimpse into the metaphysical themes explored in the EP.
‘Being’, the first track, is a fusion of natural and electronically-sourced elements. The instrumentation, initially soothing and folky, becomes more industrial and sci-fi-like, reflecting the state of the self, both at peace and unsatisfied.
‘Always’, with its spacious and stop-and-start arrangement, feels more organic and less familiar. Freelining bass-work and fragments of distant voice and instrument accompany the simplicity of an acoustic fingerstyle adventure. Delicacy and intensity blend with uncertainty and comfort, creating a compelling and unusual composition.
‘Ever’, the third track, follows a similar pattern as the earlier tracks, with new details and a changing mood that promise a different set of ideas and feelings. The music blends industrial weight with gentle, organic musicianship, creating a shifting landscape of evolution and eventuality.
The final track, ‘Becoming’, is the longest and most complex of the EP. It starts out at a frenetic pace, with tumbling rhythms and quick-playing. The stop-start presence returns, with all the project’s characteristics gathered together for one final shifting landscape of natural evolution and eventuality. The fingerstyle playing keeps us grounded and calm, while the siren-like rising anticipation engages us.
The EP is accompanied by nine hand-drawn illustrations and an essay on humanity’s tilted view of seasonal cycles by Kirkbride. The drawings and essay complement the music, creating a holistic experience that explores the interplay of memory, ornament, and placemaking.
Overall, Always Becoming is a precise and passionate collaboration that creates a dreamlike and transcendent soundscape. It’s a pleasure to listen to and allows the listener to contemplate the nature of being, non-being, and change.