The NBT Review 123

The Wild Land – Nate Maingard

This Review by Helge Janssen

From the muse…..through the heart – The Wild Land – Nate Maingard CD release June 2011.

If Nate himself is a matrix of cross-referencing wonders with at times a naive matter-of-factness, his debut CD ‘The Wild Land’ is a mesmerising distillation alchemized into the sum total of brilliance. When his muse speaks, we listen…..and wander with him through enchanted forests……entwined with loose vines….glinting sunlight and a rich dark undergrowth…where we encounter PAN (the god of experience) in all his wonderpotent glory….

The astonishingly opulent guitar tone (a Nathan Maingard original – Nate learned guitar-making from his father) matched by a clarity of pitch with an alluring melodic voice in shamanic harmony (the voice and the guitar are one – so much so that at times it seems as if there is a backing homogeneous male vocalist echoing words) rang a unique resonance within me from the moment this
CD made aural contact. It is always interesting when the intended raison of a song expands beyond its original framework and infuses a wider territory! So, while the songs are deeply personal, they transcend and connect with a listener tired of the glib boy meets girl/boy loses girl phrasing of current popular fare. The driving acoustic rhythms weave through the lyrics and travel an expanse that resonates with the crux of the matter conjoining emotion and intellect. The colours, moods, memories, visions that thus emanate throughout this story/concept motivated album inspires a sense of healing and crusades for a return to our intuitive selves: the innocence of the heart matched by the seduction of experience….yet with discernment….and with caution. While this may seem like a contradiction in terms on a surface level, when one is in that deeply felt intuitive (artistic) space, it all makes absolute sense.

And sense it makes!

Each track is a carefully selected gentle-gem-offering of immense beauty discovered within the thicket of…..

The Wild Land –

the track that gives the album its name – deals with the secret landscape where the river of sexuality/sensuality is obligated to course its way through the psyche without hinderance….or face the wrath of the inner voice that speaks no lie. This very important flow is not that easy to attain, yet where the hurdles serve to strengthen resolve and the bottling up of sexuality is done at one’s peril. This is the domain of that which is wild…….tread gently through it least you arouse the displeasure of these guardians of our underworld.

The plea is not to mishandle the serene (yet potentially chaotic) space that respects a surrender to our innermost gifts in our quest to find our authentic self.

Just Like You:

This song is concerned with a search for personal identity which has come about through a lack of being able to live up to the expected norms of one’s peers/society/parents/religion. There is neither anger nor blame: just compassion for oneself. Yet in so finding, discovering compassion for others which requires reciprocation:

“…if no one is listening then this all seems absurd….”

This is, after all, a deeply felt anticipated yet unwritten human pact which we implicitly make with our fellow man. This is further
demonstrated in the final punch line:

“I hold onto my love, just like you.”

…..where the playing fields are gently levelled.

Fire:

two embers in the fire faced one another
said to the other: What are you doing here?
although I question carefully your presence
I am so grateful for your company
in the fire

until we’re gone gone gone gone gone
gone
gone gone gone
gone gone gone gone gone
when the flames have all burned down
what will remain?

The birth/death/rebirth cycle so beautifully and poignantly expressed in a total acceptance of the heat of experience yet posing a mysterious philosophical question: “what will remain?” The answer to this seems to rest with the quality of the experience. The Phoenix undoubtedly springs to mind too, for is it not from/through the ashes that the new is born? Each experience is savoured, considered…..it forms a vital ingredient in our transformation…..of that which we are becoming..

My favourite track is undoubtedly

I Will Devour:

in the soft moist loam
in the undergrowth
where all creatures know
what that seed is worth..
i will lay me down
and i will sink in to
just like the seed
i will feed the new

…..sheer genius!

And performed to mesmerising perfection at the Bean Green Roastery, in Durban, where I had the
delighted pleasure of also filming it! I am also now the proud owner of a signed ‘The Wild Land’ CD.

Yes!
They say that the ‘indie folk’ scene is exploding in Cape Town. If this album is an example of that, then folk music in this country has finally come of age. This has to be the most remarkable folk debut album in many a decade, and in my experience, in South Africa – ever! It draws through its many folk influences and turns out a product that is modern, inspired, fresh and immediate. Nate exhibits an innate sense of drama and timing in his distinctive musical and vocal style. He treads…and plays……where few have dared to go….and through his creative process fearlessly faces his beasts inviting them into obeisance.
Buy “The Wild Land” now. Immediately! You will never regret it.

http://natemaingard.com/album/the-wild-land

tracks from this album can be heard on the NBTMusicRadio

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