Who: Sage Fisher (harp, vocals).
For fans of: Alice Coltrane, Joanna Newsom, Grouper.
Sounds like: Encountering a unicorn in a medieval garden hedge maze, then cooling off in a lagoon surrounded by pan-gendered wood nymphs.
Sage Fisher realizes the term "New Age music" has certain connotations, which she is happy to defy.
"There's something gross and visceral about the name Dolphin Midwives," says the 26-year-old singer and harpist. "It comes from a book called The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, and the midwives are actual dolphins who are present in aiding a human water birth, which continues to this day."
Sage's polyrhythmic harp compositions and vocal collages on Dolphin Midwives' debut, Orchid Milk, are a far departure from her past musical life as Nadine Mooney, for which she played solo acoustic guitar and released an album on Tender Loving Empire in 2008. The 10 songs on Orchid Milk have an Enya-like quality, an artist's call to the heavens and ancestors past through looping delay-drenched harp and Björk-style vocal manipulations.
"When I write music, I'm thinking about the laws of physics and how I can counter them," she says. "I come up with games like this when I'm composing, creating songs with different types of rhythm and tuning, exploring those in-between spaces between notes."
Sage is releasing the album at the Kenton Masonic Temple, which she sees as the perfect venue for illustrating the project's themes of life, death and the occult: "The giant mural on the ceiling is of a star map, with sacred geometry painted on top of that," Sage says. Despite her ephemeral inspirations, though, Dolphin Midwives remain grounded in tangible applications for what Sage sees as the gift of harp music.
"I've been really interested in music-thanatology. Basically, playing harp for people on their deathbeds as a form of music therapy," she says. "I want to develop something like that, but for birthing ceremonies. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone was born to harp?"
SEE IT: Dolphin Midwives plays Kenton Masonic Temple, 8130 N Denver Ave., with Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan Orchestra and Dead Death, on Saturday, May 21. 8 pm. $12. All ages.