“Existence is a revolution”: Camp Saint Helene’s ‘Of Earth and Its Timely Delights’ Grief & Possibility

Camp Saint Helene © Angela Ricciardi & Silken Weinburg
Camp Saint Helene © Angela Ricciardi & Silken Weinburg
Catskills, NY-based witchy folk band Camp Saint Helene take us track-by-track through their enchanting sophomore album ‘Of Earth and its Timely Delights’ – a seductive, spellbinding call for collective liberation channeling grief, love, and life itself into a body of ethereal, mystic, and moving music.
Stream: “Anniversary” – Camp Saint Helene




You don’t necessarily need to have an existential revelation while listening to Camp Saint Helene’s new album,

but they sure wouldn’t mind it if you did.

From whence it came, so shall it return, right? The Catskills, NY-based “witchy folk” band approach music as a ritual, and perhaps it’s fate that their songs are undeniably enchanting: Each one the spellbinding result of unbound self-expression, untethered experimentation, and intimate connection to something greater than ourselves.

Their sophomore album is a call for collective liberation: Born out of deep meditations on existence, the cosmos, and the human condition, Of Earth and its Timely Delights channels reflections on grief, love, and everything in-between into a body of wondrous, ethereal mystic folk.

It’s a record about the distance between grief and possibility; of finding joy in a fragile, fractured world, and embracing the present moment for all its worth.

Of Earth and Its Timely Delights by Camp Saint Helene
Of Earth and Its Timely Delights by Camp Saint Helene
Sometimes I can
Hold myself back
Lest I need the space to breathe
Let me drink up
All the water
Let me drown
And never seen
You say that you’re heart’s a wanderer
Taking off on lonely roads
Where has all the time gone?
Where has all the fire gone?
Of earth and its timely delights
Isn’t it divine that we’ve made it here
Waiting through a pool of star tears
To embrace, to embrace
Holy rage
– “Of Earth and its Timely Delights,” Camp Saint Helene

Released May 10, 2024 via Misery Mother, Of Earth and Its Timely Delights is a dreamy reverie bathed in a soft light and drenched in cathartic emotion. Arriving five long years after their debut album Mother, Camp Saint Helene’s sophomore LP is as much a return as it is a full-on reintroduction to the four-piece of Elizabeth Celeste Ibarra, Dylan Nowik, Wesley Harper and Alex Wernquest, who named their band after a now-defunct Christian summer camp-turned arts colony in the Catskill Mountains.

While they as a group don’t ascribe to any one theologic tradition, their music is undeniably spiritual – rooted in the connective tissue that binds us to nature, and to one another. While not a concept album by any means, Of Earth and its Timely Delights could be seen as an exploration of those unseen, mysterious forces that link us.

Camp Saint Helene © Angela Ricciardi & Silken Weinburg
Camp Saint Helene © Angela Ricciardi & Silken Weinburg



For the band, their latest album is evidence of their individual and collective growth. Dylan Nowik calls it “a practice in expanding our genre, whereas Mother was creating a single cohesive feeling. Of Earth has more sonic exploration.”

“I think that every song on this record was recorded and written very intuitively and honestly, and each song feels like a true expression of itself,” his bandmate Wesley Harper tells Atwood Magazine.

The band collectively call Of Earth and its Timely Delights a record of grief, Earth, and possibility.

“The record is an overview of earth-time, where we are now as a society, a commentary on the culture,” Elizabeth Ibarra adds. “How strangely divine and timely it is to be here at all. How we can still find wonder and awe and beauty and joy amidst it all.”

Existence is a revolution
Rising amidst the circumstance’s gun
Chase the midnight sun
Don’t you ever lose your edge
Roses on her sweet breath
Lavender by night
God is in the light
Summer storms so wild
Don’t let eyes betray, don’t let eyes betray
God is in the day
– “Lavender By Night,” Camp Saint Helene

Lathered in gentle nuance and musical motifs, Of Earth and its Timely Delights is made to be listened to from start to finish and hits hardest as one 37-minute experience, opening with the pensive title track “Of Earth and Its Timely Delights” and concluding with “Everybody Wants a Narrative” and the weighty words, “Everybody wants a narrative, everybody wants to hear a story, and all I want is all I could have.” The band members cite “Lavender by Night,” “Memory Knows,” “Grapefruit Dreams, For Now,” and “Parallel Live” as their personal favorite songs.

Camp Saint Helene © Angela Ricciardi & Silken Weinburg
Camp Saint Helene © Angela Ricciardi & Silken Weinburg



Ultimately, Camp Saint Helene hope their music offers an opportunity for listeners to break away from their daily routine, if only for a short while.

“I hope it allows people to detach from whatever is not actually happening to them at the moment and it gives you, for the length of the album, a space to pause and step into an interesting place that gives you a little extra space in your life and in your mind,” Wernquest shares.

“I hope the album is transportive to the listener and takes them somewhere to contemplate and self-reflect and not feel so alone, but connected to something bigger than themselves,” Ibarra adds. “We are artists and we have to believe in our work, we have to show up for it. This project has always been a spiritual experience for me, and so much of what I have been grappling with in the art making and releasing process is the ego. We can’t let ego engulf us and take our true power away. We are making music because we love the music and believe in the music. We are here as friends and collaborators and work in honest relationship with each other. I hope it’s inspiring.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Camp Saint Helene’s Of Earth and Its Timely Delights with Atwood Magazine as the band take us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their sophomore album!

— —

:: stream/purchase Of Earth and Its Timely Delights here ::
:: connect with Camp Saint Helene here ::
Stream: ‘Of Earth and Its Timely Delights’ – Camp Saint Helene



:: Inside Of Earth and its Timely Delights ::

Of Earth and Its Timely Delights by Camp Saint Helene

— —

Of Earth and its Timely Delights

Elizabeth: For a long time, I thought I was singing this song to someone. Listening to it now, I realize I was just singing to myself, reflecting on the inner turmoil between what my soul wants and the reality of things, which is that we are all just little specs of dreams and dust that have divinely come alive.
Wesley: There was no other way this album could start, it instantly sets the tone.

Mourning Dress

Dylan: This song went through a few phases of evolution to arrive at where it is now. It started out as a brash drone-y song that was largely improved by group collaboration.
Wesley: This felt like the first song we all really wrote together; we’re all singing on it and it’s the energetic kick off to the album. It’s really special to me.
Elizabeth: I also think that lyrically, Mourning Dress is a good place to begin the record because it’s about a dystopian society, which is pretty much where we’re at, in the U.S. There’s always this glorified idea of the American Dream (also echoed in the last song on the record) hanging over our culture, but what does it really mean for all of us? Who is this dream manufactured for?

Anniversary

Dylan: This was written by Liz and I on the day of our anniversary, in a really short, pleasant period of time, maybe 30 minutes to an hour. It was one of the first songs we wrote for the record.



Racing

Wesley: Dylan and I wrote this in about 45 minutes, and then we showed it to you, Liz, and then you just laughed and looked at us and laughed and said ‘wow this is a perfect combination of you two’
Elizabeth: (laughs) I wrote the first two lines, but Wesley, you took the lead on the lyrics for the first time.
Wesley: I wrote the choruses, with the exception of “quiet and slow”, which I think made the song.
Elizabeth: Really? I wrote that?
Alex: What did it say before?
Wesley: ‘We’re divisible’
Alex: Yeah that’s better (laughs)
Dylan: You both were chipping away at the sculpture.



Lavender By Night

Alex: This one’s my favorite track and feeling. Particularly the octave-down keyboard mistake is my favorite sound on the record.
Elizabeth: I love this one too. This one is for the misfits in society… for everyone who lives with the odds stacked against them.

Parallel Lives

Elizabeth: A few years ago, Dylan and I started pilgrimages from New York to California. I passed through Marfa, Texas and learned about the Marfa Lights, so came the line “big open texas skies”. Then I went to White Sands and wrote “dancing in the dunes”. There’s allusions to the American landscape here, and I wanted the song itself to mirror that sonically. Vast and ever-changing.
Alex: This one was the biggest hurdle in recording – we just couldn’t get it. But listening to it now and thinking of how I was feeling when I first heard it in the room, like “big open texas skies” and “dancing in the dunes” … it just puts you in a mood. And the feeling, from when I first heard it, to what it landed on, is so good. Dylan cruised on it for a while…
Dylan: Yeah I put some banjos and bells and some Maeve’s violin on it and it never felt quite right until now.
Wesley: We are more or less playing it the same way we did when we first heard it, but our confidence in this song is the major thing that changed and now we embody it when we play it because we believe in it.

The Bad Lands

Dylan: We had a bit of an interest in English folk groups from the ’60s like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, and Bad Lands is a nod to that music genre.
Elizabeth: This is another contemplative song written on a road trip. I carried my grief with me to the Badlands and left some of it with the hot wind.

Eyes As Big As Suns

Dylan: We were nearly complete with the writing process of this record, but we felt that we needed a few other songs, and a few other feelings on it. Elizabeth and I were eating breakfast on our porch on a summer morning, when I was deep in thought about what would become the musical component of this song. Liz caught the deep-in-thought-look on my face and said, “you have eyes as big as suns!”

Grapefruit Dreams, for Now

Elizabeth: This one always gets me. Dylan and I wrote it at the end of the world, near the Canadian border in Maine. It’s written from the perspectives of Gods who messed up their world. They decide to let it go, allowing it to surrender to the chaos and they welcome death. They can start again.

Memory Knows

Elizabeth: Memory Knows centers around deep grief and change. It’s about losing someone you love and loneliness. Wesley’s keys really made this song.



Everybody Wants a Narrative

Elizabeth: This one is funny because it’s about how frustrating the music industry is and how capitalism sucks the life out of everything.
Wesley: I specifically remember hearing this demo and thinking “this is going to be the golden one.”

— —

:: stream/purchase Of Earth and Its Timely Delights here ::
:: connect with Camp Saint Helene here ::

— — — —

Of Earth and Its Timely Delights by Camp Saint Helene

Connect to Camp Saint Helene on
Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Angela Ricciardi & Silken Weinburg

:: Stream Camp Saint Helene ::



More from Mitch Mosk
Premiere: The Raw & Vulnerable Power of wetter’s “Truth Song”
wetter capture our eternal struggle with vulnerability in "Truth Song," a raw...
Read More