Poetry, a flugelhorn, a Moog bass, and a music video featuring 1,000 individual watercolor paintings.

Welcome to the world of Tidelands.

The San Franciscan duo of Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki has a musical résumé longer than many music professors and an ambitious vision for their craft.  Their countless hours of devotion have led to the release of their debut album If…

The album is equal parts gentleness and grandness, built around Araki’s temperate drumming and Leis’s mellifluous poetic narrative.  This base is augmented by members of the Magik*Magik Orchestra as well as other musicians in the bay area.  The sound is fleshed out by violins, cellos, rich guitars, a flugelhorn, trumpets and many other instruments left to the imagination.  The end result is the equivalent of someone giving VAST an Ambien.

If… is a 9 track 48 minute dreamlike ride; much of the album has softness and lilt to it.  There are brief moments of cacophony, like the horn and cello chaos in “Eyes of God,” but what dreams do not?  The song rides the crest and comes out the woods with joyous guitar strumming complemented by a trumpet.  “Letter To A Young Soldier I Love” is the obligatory anti-war statement, yet contains more honest emotion than most people can conjure in a lifetime and condenses it into a 6 minute ballad.

If you want to experience the vivid imagery Tidelands tries to conjure with their music, watch the video for “Holy Grail.”  It does a better job of explaining their sound than any blog could do.  The video features 1,000 watercolors which illustrator Ami Kutata spent four months working on for the single.  How is that for dedication and determination?  While it wasn’t from one of the members of the band, it shows the type of people they work with and is a reflection of their own seriousness to their work.

So turn down the lights, put a rose in a vase on your dinner table, open a bottle of wine and get lost in the lullaby of Tidelands’ debut If…  When you wake up, see where your world is, and check:

Does it have a flugelhorn?