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marine eyes 'to belong' [CD]

marine eyes 'to belong' [CD]

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Glass-mastered, silkscreen printed CD housed in a 6-panel, 300g satin cardstock Digipak. Clear cd tray. Numbered. Shrinkwrapped. Pressed and printed in the Canada. Edition of 200.

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🇬🇧 Juno Records



i set out with my own
puzzle pieces, my own
cracked pottery and
created a patchwork sky

these are all parts which
teach me belonging is
everywhere and nowhere


MARINE EYES – TO BELONG (Past Inside The Present, 2024)

"Cynthia Bernard (aka marine eyes) placed these words in her journal as a means of encapsulating the strata of emotions and relationships that form to belong, her third solo album, and second for Past Inside the Present. Their syntax recalls ee cummings with its direct, evocative simplicity – fitting for a collection that creates such loving images of puddle-wonderful landscapes populated by familiar souls and stirrings.

Through Bernard’s meditative methods, belonging is approached as it should be: a rare and delicate sensation that might describe one’s place in the physical world, in the continuum of time, or in the arms of a loved one. She chiefly uses treated guitar, soft synthesizers, and layers of her own radiant voice to achieve a holistic sense of embrace, but to belong is also tenderly colored with field recordings and the voices of her dearest family and friends. In these we find a throughline to the love of journaling and documentation that previously inspired chamomile (Past Inside the Present, 2022).

The opening title track eases in with a menagerie of textures teased like yarn from a skein, with birdcall and vocal incantations arising and receding in gentle waves. “bridges” emerges from the fog with gently-strummed guitar and a clear-eyed mantra, intended for her children as they navigate the confusion and complexities of young adulthood. You imagine her playing it for them around a beach bonfire at dusk, a moment held close in unifying comfort.

“cemented” establishes a liminal space with speckled interplay of plucked strings from the cherished guitar of a late uncle, underscored by the sound of footfall from a walk in Bernard’s favorite park. Her journey carries on through “of the west”, a brief passage with equal parts melancholy and awe, composed in honor of her sister’s courage during a health battle; and “suddenly green”, which echoes the themes of idyll (Stereoscenic, 2021) by evoking California’s verdant season in its muted shimmer. Without doubt these are deeply personal creations, but you can’t help but be overcome by their disarming air of benevolence and empathy.

“mended own” reprises the stripped-down folk ballad mode with an introspective study of Bernard’s penchant for prismatic photography. Her inclination to bend, deconstruct and play with light – as exemplified by the album’s cover image – meshes perfectly with its arrangement, as each element is distinct in the resulting rainbow. She serenely sings, “This light held in soft hands / is letting go / of heavy stones,” while hushed details bubble across the backdrop in the manner of spectral remains on an overdubbed tape.

The final act of to belong summons the influences of long-ago lineage (“in the spaces”, written for the great-grandmother who created USC’s Little Chapel of Silence) and the unconditional love of close friends (“all you give (for ash)”) before closing with a two-part ode to gratitude and impermanence. “night palms sway” conjures the ritual of hand-in-hand walks at the end of the day, witnessed only by fluttering insects under the streetlights, and “call and answer” is a hymn to the muse who always sings when you listen. As a final song, it’s less a goodbye and much more a friendly see you soon.

marine eyes crafts her sonic worlds on a firmament of careful reflection, acceptance and, above all, appreciation of the vagaries of existence. When considering the contingencies that wind through any personal history, and the fragility of all that surrounds us, a sense of belonging becomes a profoundly precious thing indeed."


releases April 17, 2024

Written, produced and performed by Cynthia Bernard
Mixed and mastered at Ambient Mountain House by James Bernard
Assistant mixing by Cynthia Bernard
Cover art by Cynthia Bernard
Additional art layer by Bird Bernard
Design and layout by Cynthia Bernard

Marketed and distributed and compact disc copyright by Past Inside the Present
Glass mastered, pressed, manufactured, and assembled by Analogue Media Technologies Inc. dba, Canada

©℗ 2024 Past Inside the Present
This is PITP42 /

thank you james, ashton, bird, chloe, mia, asher, mom, dad, michelle, jenny, ashley, cash, tina, ellen, lacey, uncle bill + aunt robyn, my pitp brothers, and my great-great grandmother elizabeth holmes fisher. your voices, spirits and even a few musical notes are infused into these songs and i'm forever grateful.

◾️◾️◾️ REVIEWS

"What does it mean To belong? Cynthia Bernard aka. marine eyes only begins to scratch the surface of this question on her latest ambient record (yet leaps a great deal forward in wrestling with it nonetheless), following up her prior effort ‘chamomile’ with a distinctly beauteous fortnight of forenoon drones, all of which spur the realization that “belonging is everywhere and nowhere”. Belonging is indeed a kind of ephemeral longing of being than can only ever be partly grasped, attained. Through its looping washes of warmed, brackish, padded backwash - not to mention its many bass-undergirded angel choirs - the likes of ‘timeshifting’, ‘bridges’ and ‘mended own’ stand out as such revelatory highlights, all contributing to an incredible album of sonic diaristic reflection, in which every sound sticks out clearly yet plays its proper part in a humble, rose-smelling gestalt.

-Juno Records
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