Experimental-psychedelic folk project Mere of Light played at the Jazz Gallery in Riverwest on Thursday evening alongside New York-based experimental artist Cal Fish, Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Itchy Kisses, and Milwaukee’s improvisational noise collective Frenia. Candles and trippy lights illuminated the dark room, making for an intimate evening of eclectic talent.

Mere of Light is the project of Elise McArdle, who utilizes harp, electronics, and field recordings while Eddie Chapman accompanies them on guitar. McArdle explains what made them want to go in such a direction.

“I definitely love being in Cream Vellum, it’s a really important and exciting project, however I always kind of felt like I had more experimental desires that I wanted to try out and see what would happen if I made my music a little bit weirder. Mere of Light is that space for that – to have more experimentation happening – and it’s been really fun.”

Debut EP “Fell Tales” came out this past August. McArdle shares what the record touches on.

“It’s the culmination of like two years of work and songwriting and it touches on a lot of different things. It’s drawing on mythology, fairy tale imagery and stories, and also talking about environmental issues – especially in the song “Mirette” which draws allegories between sadness and loss but also cyclical patterns of mourning devastation that we’ve already experienced but also hope for how good it can be when we all come together. The word “fell” is like a Lord of the Rings word, and it means dire or important.”

A music video for their debut single “Moon From A Well” was released at the very beginning of the year. Such themes of cyclical patterns are similarly explored.

“My friend Anthony Clementi made that; he’s very talented. The deer in the video is waking up and experiencing these trees that are falling but also these mounds are growing, so it’s like a continuous journey where things die but then re-grow again, so you mourn what is lost but feel hopeful for the regrowth.”

McArdle shares what Mere of Light is up to now.

“Right now I’m really just focusing on playing shows. It’s a lot more work for this band to put on a show than for other projects that I’ve been in, so it definitely takes a lot of preparation. People could maybe expect one or two shows from us every six months. But I’m definitely looking forward to the next step; I want to travel a bit. It’d be fun to play in Chicago or Minneapolis, so that’s on my radar.”

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