Throughout the ’90s and early ’00s, Michael Plaster released a handful of titles under the Soulwhirlingsomewhere moniker — starting with 1993’s masterful Eating the Sea — that were characterized by darkly lush atmospherics, confessional lyrics, and forlorn vocals. Following 2001’s Please Sennd Help, Plaster put Soulwhirlingsomewhere on hiatus and became involved in other projects, including Mr. Meeble, Exit, and Black Tape For a Blue Girl.
Over the years, Plaster dropped a few hints about a new Soulwhirlingsomewhere album titled Almost. But Plaster’s most recent release of his own solo material is this 2016 instrumental that was originally composed for a psychedelic artificially intelligent art installation by his former Mr. Meeble bandmate Devin Fleenor. (Fleenor died in 2018 from complications related to an immune system disorder.)
Don’t let the “psychedelic” descriptor throw you off, however. “Sile” is very much of a piece with Plaster’s Soulwhirlingsomewhere material. Its meditative ambience is as moody as it is elegant, and despite clocking in at over fourteen minutes, the song never overstays its welcome. All that’s missing is Plaster singing about heartache and unrequited love in that yearning voice of his.
I’m not holding my breath that we’ll get a new Soulwhirlingsomewhere album any time soon. Back in 2017, Plaster indicated that he was done with Soulwhirlingsomewhere and expressed a desire to “close that chapter of my life.” In any case, “Sile” is a nice consolation prize, and if it’s an indication of what Plaster’s future releases might sound like, then I suspect they’ll be worth the wait.