Review: Raising Holy Sparks - A Mendicant Hymnal

A men­dic­ant is a trav­el­ling monk — one who begs for sub­sist­ence, accept­ing what people and to world have to offer, in humil­ity. The music on this double album could be a dis­til­la­tion of the world exper­i­enced in such a way: a flow­ing by of land­scapes and vis­ions, an end­less sequence of steps car­ry­ing one to some unknown des­tin­a­tion. This is the final act of beg­ging and accept­ance: to see where the jour­ney leads you, always defer­ring to decisions made out­side of the self; offer­ing up the self.

Rais­ing Holy Sparks is the pro­ject that rose from the ashes of Agit­ated Radio Pilot and saw David Colo­han shift­ing from lo-fi and singer/­songwriter releases to some­thing more instru­mental, raw, and abstract. The divi­sion is far from clear-cut: Agit­ated Radio Pilot had its share of lush ambi­ent impro­visa­tions, and the occa­sional harsh gui­tar solo, while Rais­ing Holy Sparks has had plenty of songs inter­spersed on its earlier releases. All the same, there is a tan­gible con­trast between the two pro­jects.