Dedicated to the Untouchables
Scottish organization Transgressive North are a community of artists: performers, writers, poets and musicians. Their Edinburgh-based in-house art-pop band, called Marram, released a full-length LP entitled Sun Choir, which took an alarming six years to complete. The album is just one creative piece of several in a project called Everything Is New that brings attention to southeast India’s Dalit (untouchable) children, who are malnourished, poor, homeless and discriminated against, among other things. Due to the nature of the album, several musicians contributed, including Jarvis Cocker, Margarete Bennett, Owen Pallett, White Hinderland, doseone, Irvine Welsch and the Light of the Love Children’s Choir.
Songs are long, with most clocking in at over five minutes and some exceeding seven minutes. The entire album contains orchestral qualities: parts of “Seed I (Root, Shoot)” sound like they could have been played in the movie Fantasia and “With Us Instead” is lively and energetic, constantly changing pace and the horn section is alive and well. It isn’t uncommon to hear a soft harmony followed by an explosion of sound on any track.
The vocals in “What If We” sound slightly like Kermit the Frog, and if you don’t have an appreciation for this type of style, you might find it annoying (my roommate had to leave the room because she couldn’t take it anymore).
It’s kind of hard to talk smack on a charity album. While there is an audible theme to the album, many songs tend to sound too repetitive. Perhaps if we all had a keen ear for this type of music we’d be able to differentiate between the more than 200 instruments, but not a lot of people do. Nonetheless, there isn’t an ear that can miss how beautiful and ambitious Sun Choir is as a whole.