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SPELLLING's Turning Wheel: An Embodiment of The Divine Feminine

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Turning Wheel feels like a story of everything the world could be from the perspective of the Divine Feminine, portraying the peace that lies in the recluse of self, and the embrace of stillness amidst the chaos of freedom. The music video is a post-modern take on the wonder and fantasy of escaping the modern world and the restraints it imposes on the mind, body, and spirit. SPELLLING and friends are depicted dancing through grassy plains hidden between cascading mountains wearing brightly colored makeup while singing 'You are too set up for the cities turning wheels, but I want to stay up on the hill.' A fantastic and beautiful allusion to the that idea that innovation is not a vehicle of evolution, but rather an instrument of established power constructs, conveyed in the simplicity of living life above the world on the hill. SPELLLING allures listeners to seek perspective outside of themself, while reminding us that the path to peace is paved through understanding others.

SPELLLING, the project of Bay Area-based artist Chrystia Cabral, shares the titular track and it’s accompanying video from her new album, The Turning Wheel, out June 25th on Sacred Bones. “Turning Wheel” opens with gentle chords of piano, Cabral’s striking voice rising above. As the song continues, her vocals are cradled by a chorus of others, lush instrumentation blooming beneath. The video presents SPELLLING’s magical and eccentric vision. Cabral and friends dance, play instruments, and give a theatrical performance, all donned in wonderfully exaggerated makeup and costumes.

“‘Turning Wheel’ is a bittersweet anthem about the desire for the pure and simple moments in time to last forever,” says Cabral. “I fantasize about a realm of peace, gentleness and ecstasy, like a pristine wilderness that evades the conditions, demands and decay of the human world and its pursuits. I’m the type of personality and artist that yearns for deep reclusion and repose, and oftentimes I struggle to make choices. I frequently feel immobilized by the structures and regiments of being a modern world citizen. I sing about these personal tensions through ‘Turning Wheel’ and also speak to the larger theme of the album: the cosmic wheel of life. The song, like the album as a whole, ponders: when does reality stop circling around itself? When, if ever, will we reach a divine, angelic state that transcends the turning wheel?

The follow-up to SPELLLING’s acclaimed 2019 debut Mazy Fly, The Turning Wheel revolves around themes of human unity, the future, divine love and the enigmatic ups and downs of life. SPELLLING took on the ambitious task of orchestrating and self-producing an album that features an ensemble of 31 collaborating musicians. The resulting album incorporates a vast range of rich acoustic sounds that casts her work into vibrant new dimensions.

The Turning Wheel is split into two halves — “Above” and “Below.” Lush string quartet shimmer combines with haunting banjo and wandering bassoon leads, as the album progresses from the more jubilant, warm, and dreamy mood of the “Above” tracks to the more chilling and gothic tone of the “Below” tracks. This progression is anchored by SPELLLING’s vocal style that emphasizes the theatrical and folkloric heart of her songwriting.

The Turning Wheeldemonstrates a distinct evolution of lyrical style, from the more incantatory and abbreviated approach of her previous work to a more expansive, narrative production.

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