The music of Newcastle’s Richard Dawson encompasses a world all its own, a destination not quite past, present, or future, but some weird hodgepodge of all three, where baroque folk music and broken down prog reside with forays into electronic soundscapes, the use of open ambient space, and controlled dissonance. It’s in Dawson’s music that we can step outside of reality and simply exist within his sound. The Ruby Cord is third in a trilogy that began with Peasant and 2020, this time focusing on the future, but not necessarily our future, rather the idea of the future and the disconnect from reality with our embrace of the virtual. Themes aside though, it’s a stunning work of brilliance, built on patience and understanding, warmth and comfort. Sure, “The Hermit” is 41 minutes, which to some is going to be an impenetrable obstacle, but for anyone willing to experience the moment, to close themselves off from the outside noise of the world, and allow yourself to be pulled into Dawson’s orbit, it’s worth every last moment. Opening with detached strings, plucked and bowed in time with gorgeous brushed rhythms, and some soft washes of piano, it feels meditative, with each resonate note fading into the ether. As the song progresses, Dawson’s signature vocals spin tales like a traveling bard from medieval days, presenting a world part surreal but situated in the nature of this reality, from grand mountains to mushrooms and moss. By the time we reach the song’s coda, with choir intact, we’re adrift on a boat out to sea, centered between smoke and rainbows, a life both destructive and beautiful. A taper of rainbows, faintly aglow, forever.