Salt Of The Sound is the award-winning musical collaboration of Stockholm-based husband and wife duo Anita and Ben Tatlow. Their aim is to create songs that encourage a spirit of reflection both in church environments and in times of personal quiet, while also exploring musical styles and expressions that bring a freshness to the Christian music scene.
Salt Of The Sound’s new EP Waiting For The Dawn centres around the theme of light, which is echoed in different ways across all of the songs, and features heavily in the Advent traditions of Nordic countries. Waiting For The Dawn combines these Scandinavian influences with a focus on natural soundscapes, as well as featuring the unique blend of electronic synths, subtle vocal harmonies, and thoughtful lyrical messages that the duo have become known for.
“Leaves the listener searching, wondering… grabbing out for the beauty that is in this world. 5/5”
– Louder Than The Music review of 2015 album Echoes Of Wonder
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Music that Colors Your Emotions this Christmas| Posted December 15, 2016
Salt of the Sound is by no means new to the music world. The husband and wife team of Ben and Anita Tatlow have been making music for a number of years, launched as a band through music they created as a gift for their wedding guests. Now, they're trying their hand at some Christmas/Advent themed tracks, bringing their meditative, chill electronic sounds into the season with Waiting for the Dawn.
"O Come O Come Emmanuel" is a slowed down, tone-setting opener that features simple strings backing Anita's patient, echoing, Enya-esque delivery of the first verse and repeated chorus of this carol--the only "standard" in the six tracks.
"Shine So Bright" immediately captivates with chime sounds and piano that bring a "Carol of the Bells" intro. "There's a room without windows, without doors / A world helplessly searching for more," is one of many phrases that captures the longing humanity has for a savior.
According to the Tatlows, the track "White Forests" comes from the Swedish Christmastime favorite song, "Jul, Jul, Stralande Jule." Since there's no English equivalent to the song, Salt of the Sound made one, a hypnotic, echoing track where haunting vocals fly over ever-crescendoing strings, singing: "Hymns are sung from year to year / Eternal longing for light and peace! / Yule, Yule, radiant Yule / Shining over white forests."
"From Afar" proves what I'd suspected about Salt of the Sound all along: They're most concerned about creating a mood and a feeling--a soundscape, rather than necessarily using lyrics. It's almost like the St. Francis quote about preaching the Gospel to all the world, and using words if necessary. Anita does sing on this track, but only in vocalized "Ahh"s flying over the track that really communicates a feeling of seeking, especially when the trip-hop percussion comes in midway.
Title track "Waiting for the Dawn" features the Tatlows singing slowly and monk-like an octave apart, giving it a Of Monsters and Men kind of vibe, which demands more of your attention than you'd expect. But the lyrics they deliver are equally profound, particularly on the second verse: "Silent night, cold and bright / That star still shining for a lonely world ... Few were waiting, as the dawn appeared." The dark sound of the verses breaks away for a musical breath of fresh air as the major chords reflect the hope about which they're singing.
Salt of the Sound closes out a reverent and reflective collection by making a completely new song out of the ending of the chorus from "O Come All Ye Faithful," with the song "O Come Let Us Adore Him (The Day Has Dawned)," reflecting the ultimate conclusion from the Christmas story: He's here; let's worship! It's a song that, like many of the others on the record, is patient in its pace, yet uses the tension within its speed to carry plenty of emotion.
The Bottom Line:
The beauty of Christmas music, especially in Christian music, is that there are many different projects created with many different motives. This one is all about coloring your soul with the feelings that propelled the Christmas story, from longing, to a promise, to its fulfillment. If you're looking for a Christmas project full of standards and singalong memories, you're not going to find it here. If you're looking for some serious peace in audio form this Christmas--something that captures the hope and longing and rest Christmas provides--put on Waiting for the Dawn. Admittedly, you have to be in the right head-space (Bible study? Reading by the fire? Simple stillness?) to fully reap this project's benefits, but they certainly are there. And we're happy to see Salt of the Sound continue to embrace its needed role in the music world.