Patti Smith has long had a passion for the writing of poet Arthur Rimbaud. So this second team-up with Soundwalk Collective, Mummer Love,feels like a real labour of love, and a distillation of that lifelong inspiration. With piano trickles emulating drops of rain, field recordings, and chants from the Sufi collective Sheikh Ibrahim, it is a fitting and elegiac homage to Rimbaud’s journey to Africa, where he sought to find new, simpler ways of being, freed from the Western trappings of life.
Philip Glass also collaborates here, an apposite fit as the legendary composer has long been fascinated with the Sufi rejection of material goods and elevated state of consciousness. La Maison de Rimbaud is an elegant, minimalist caress, and the beautiful title track is the only one using Smith’s poem to her muse.
Elsewhere, as with Bad Blood and Farewell, his poetry hangs in the air like incense, wrapping around the drones and gorgeous vocals from the collective. Released around the anniversary of Rimbaud’s death, this is a moving and delicate tribute to the transformative power of words and nature.
Out via Bella Union on Nov 8th.