Glacis – ‘Love, If You Love Me, Lie Beside Me Now’

Posted: 13 June 2016 in Albums
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Tavern Eightieth – TVEI23 – 28th March 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Given the fact that this release contains pieces based primarily around delicate solo piano work, there’s a curious bluntness and odd directness about the title that stirred a discomfort on first contact with Euan McMeeken’s latest project. The phrase ‘Love, if you love me, lie beside me now’ has a kind of domineering tone, with hints of emotional blackmail. It’s needy, but with controlling undercurrents. But then, such lines, particularly with the doubling of the word ‘love’, also has echoes of Elizabethan poetry.

None of this is conveyed in the six compositions here, at least on the surface. ‘No One Can Reach Us Now or Ever’ is an elegant piano piece, although there are atmospheric rumblings in the distance. In combination, they contrive to form an emotional ambivalence: the possibility that this could be an uplifting dream of safety and security is equalled by the bittersweet elegy framed in the knowledge that the only safe place is not on this earth. Perhaps it’s another subtle tendril of control, the same need to cling manifesting as separation from the world, enforced isolation. Perhaps not. Perhaps McMeeken’s compositions are intended as blank walls on which the listener’s thoughts and reactions can be projected, mapped, explored. Perhaps Ali Millar’s short prose piece provides the direction in its melancholy-hued narrative. More than anything, it’s not what is said over the course of the six tracks, but what is unsaid and what lies beneath the surface.

The pieces, although not designed to follow any overarching theme, do flow into one another very naturally, and the tone changes progressively between the beginning and the end. Sadness creeps into ‘Seen Through a Doorway’, and the notes waver and flicker in and out on ‘Under the Arc of the Sky’, and hang in a thick air, intimating hesitation, uncertainty. Strings enter at the midpoint of the final track, ‘There is Nothing Yet I am Here’, spreading an uplifting mood and a sense of optimism. And yes, perhaps there is hope. Perhaps this album s best appreciated when not searching for the meaning. Sometimes, some things simply are, and this is a magnificent, thoughtful musical work.




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