Posts Tagged ‘Emotive’

Neurot Recordings – 7th August 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Stepping out from the Neurosis fold once more to deliver a fifth solo album since the turn of the millennium, Steve Von Till brings more grizzles bleakness across six lengthy songs. These are still very much songs in the conventional sense, structured, organised, focused, centred around melody and instrument and voice. And as the title suggests, No Wilderness Deep Enough finds Von Till wandering some dark, barren territories.

As is a defining feature of the Neurosis sound, there’s a richly organic feel to the music here. Brooding strings provide the core for the sparse but dark orchestral arrangements which dominate this bleak, acoustic-led album that places Von Till’s grizzled, growling vocals to the fore.

A sparse piano motif – which is almost a direct replication of Glissando’s ‘Floods’ plays out the outro on ‘Dreams of Trees’, the album’s first song, which is a low-key, percussion-free post-rock effort that tugs at emotional levels that have lain dormant for an eternity – or at least since we’ve all been clenched in the spasm of lockdown. It taps into a different and deeper psychological space.

It’s all remarkably low-key, so does actually require some attention to fully absorb, but some quiet time and contemplation soundtracked by No Wilderness Deep Enough makes for a quite moving experience.

Oddly, much of No Wilderness Deep Enough sounds more like I Like Trains fronted by Mark Lanegan, and the dark introspection of single release ‘Indifferent Eyes’ carries the same brooding, mood, and a sense of a cracked emotional state – ground down, world-weary, harrowed, and bereft, embattled, bloodied, but still standing. Von Till conveys all of this with a heavy-timbred creaking sigh, a ravaged, Leonard Cohen growl delivered with magnificent poise. You feel this: every note, every word.

AA

a3678735570_10

Gizeh Records – 2nd March 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Tomorrow We Sail are a classic example of the kind of band who exist outside of their geography. Based in Leeds, the six-piece aren’t generally renowned as part of the local scene or prominent gig-wise, but have a reach that exists in the ether of the virtual world and into mainland Europe. Four years on from their debut, the collective have evolved their brand of folk-infused string-soaked post-rock into something even more unique.

Subdued, strolling beats and rolling piano provide the rhythmic backdrop to the nagging strings and aching vocals on the opening song, the six-minute ‘Side By Side’. It breaks into a sustained crescendo after just a couple of minutes, but it’s more a case of upping the volume and the intensity than hitting the soaring peaks which characterise so much ‘classic’ post-rock. And perhaps this is the key to the differentials which separate Tomorrow We Sail from their peers, and indeed, any other act. The Shadows is a careful and poised album which exploits the dynamic tropes of post-rock but in a contained fashion. There’s certainly nothing as expansive or sprawling as 2015’s ‘Saturn’, with its twenty-minute duration, or even the single ‘Rosa’ from the first album with its thirteen-minute running time. The Shadows is altogether more concise and all the more intense because of it. Moreover, the context feels different, the slant altered somewhat.

In some respects, the context is that this doesn’t feel like a ‘Leeds’ album. Even when the city was post-rock central a decade or so back, with iLiKETRAiNS (as they were then styled), Vessels and adopted Leeds friends Her Name is Calla all over everywhere, there was nothing this folksy or parameter-pushing as The Shadows, an album which expands the limits of post-rock. ‘The Ghost of John Maynard Keynes’ really pitches the folk aspect of the album to the fore, with a chorus of voices giving the almost shanty-like folk tune a lilting aspect.

There is unspeakable, throat-tightening beauty in the piano-led minimalism of ‘To Sleep’ which calls to mind the very best work of the now-defunct Glissando, and at the same time harks back to their debut.

The Shadows is a well-balanced collection: understated, delicate, melodic, it exists, as the title alludes, in the spaces between light and dark, exploring with deftness and sensitivity the infinite shades between.

AAA

tomorrow-we-sail-the-shadows-sleeve_1_orig