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A-Sun Amissa

For Burdened And Bright Light

    For Burdened and Bright Light is the fifth full-length album from A-Sun Amissa. This new work builds on the foundations of previous record Ceremony in the Stillness (2018), incorporating some of the heavier, distorted, guitar oriented themes but this time fuses them with broken, crumbling electronic beats and primal drone movements. The result is two long-form pieces of work that take time to unfold and multiple listens to truly digest what is on offer.

    The music of A-Sun Amissa has evolved some-what naturally over the years, drawing from elements of dark-ambient, post-rock and minimal doom but always with a leading experimental edge and a huge amount of room to push the boundaries back as far as possible. For Burdened and Bright Light feels like the next logical chapter in the journey.

    Essentially A-Sun Amissa is the project of Richard Knox (Gizeh Records founder, The Eternal Return Arkestra curator and member of The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns and Glissando) who has utilized a vast array of other musicians throughout the group’s previous records. This time around though it’s almost exclusively the work of Knox who continues to embed his typical DIY approach in writing, recording and mixing the entire album, alongside providing the artwork.

    On a sonic level For Burdened and Bright Light is the furthest Knox has gone in terms of production, depth and working with a more diverse palette of sounds. A-Sun Amissa’s distinct atmosphere remains intact however and the result is a more immersive, ambitious, adventurous record of conflicting emotions as the theme of the work tackles the contradictions of being human and explores the duality of light and dark, hope and despair.

    The two compositions found here are underpinned by vast ambient passages that are drenched in distortion and reverb, slowly unfurling before more industrial, kinetic sounds are introduced and heaving guitars come to the fore. As ever, there’s a melancholic dissonance that resonates throughout, repetition is key and moments of dread are paired with shafts of light as these two monolithic pieces unravel themselves over the course of forty minutes. The clarinet work of Claire Knox features prominently and ranges from huge, droning, orchestral overtones in the opening section of Breath by Breath to a wild, free-jazz explosion in the middle of Seagraves. The addition of David Armes’ lap-steel for the first time brings a discordant and haunting element to the sound and builds on the recent live work this trio have done together.

    A-Sun Amissa has never been a project to repeat itself and with For Burdened and Bright Light they continue their long and patient journey into the abyss.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    CD Info: CD comes in silkscreened sleeve.

    Tomorrow We Sail

    The Shadows

      The Shadows is the new album from Leeds-based six-piece Tomorrow We Sail. Building on their debut release For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight (Gizeh, 2014) over the course of three years, this new work combines perfectly the soaring atmospherics, gorgeously intertwined vocal harmonies and dramatic shifts in tone and dynamics that have come to characterise Tomorrow We Sail’s sound. Yet, there is a new sense of urgency here. Very much an album of its time, The Shadows draws upon the same sense of connection to both past and present that defined its precursor but features storytelling that’s even more defiant and deeply personal.

      Like its predecessor, the record features seven songs but from the chiming guitars of openingt rack Side By Side it is clear that the stately pace of For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight has made way for a far more dynamic and driving energy; perhaps best captured in the righteous anger of The Ghost of John Maynard Keynes Tomorrow We Sail still invoke a keen sense of measured grace in their songwriting - from the sweeping, elegiac title track, through to the sparse, restrained, yet haunting beauty of Winifred and To Sleep . Urgent, yet assured, The Shadows demands your attention. 


      Shield Patterns

      Violet EP

      'Violet' is the new EP from Shield Patterns. The duo released their highly acclaimed debut album ‘Contour Lines’ (5/5 in The Skinny) in summer 2014 and this follow-up EP features four brand new tracks from the Manchester-based creators of electronic dark-pop music.

      Violet' is a lovingly crafted progression from 'Contour Lines'. The experimentation found there has been explored further to feature samples made from clicking bones, field recordings, heavy drones and a starker approach to production. On first listen the sound is more minimalistic than that debut album but multiple layers gradually reveal themselves over time. Brentnall’s vocals were singled out for particular praise in early reviews and she has refined her vision further here, with her lyrical concerns focussing on the intimacy of bodies (“drip-feeding” and “mouths”, for example) and her voice arranged into swirling loops like those which introduce and underpin final track ‘Monument’.

      This is electronic music that juxtaposes warmth and cold, journeying from industrial to natural, from claustrophobic to expansive.

      Ormonde

      Cartographer / Explorer

      Ormonde are Anna-Lynne Williams (Trespassers William/Lotte Kestner) and Robert Gomez, and ‘Cartographer/Explorer’ is the Seattle band’s second album, following on from 2012’s ‘Machine’ which garnered keen praise on both sides of the Atlantic for its delicate acoustic songwriting.

      Individually, the two members of Ormonde have impressive CVs: Williams toured with Damien Rice, Feist, Broken Social Scene and Explosions in the Sky during her time in Trespassers William (Nettwerk Records) and also co-wrote and sang ‘Hold Tight London’ on Chemical Brothers’ ‘Push the Button’ album. Gomez is a respected producer/multi-instrumentalist who has worked with John Grant, Centro-matic and Sarah Jaffe and was previously signed to Bella Union. Ormonde, however, is where the two locate their shared vision, and it’s a spellbinding place to spend some time.

      In contrast to the debut album, ‘Cartographer/Explorer’ is a much more ambitious affair. Primarily written and recorded in an immersive two week period, the songs have a late-night, narcotic quality. They frequently centre themselves around repeating guitar or organ/synth phrases and passages, slowly spinning out captivating webs of sound. Williams concentrates on her words and singing, whereas Gomez provides the lion’s share of the instrumentation, incorporating beats and processed drums into the mix, submerging them under liberal reverb and effects. Gomez himself takes lead vocals on four of the album’s ten songs - with the purity of Williams’ voice winding around his slurred, somewhat sinister tones - with ‘A Grand Design’ being a perfect example of how the combination of their voices, together and separate, is one of the album’s strongest features.

      It perhaps comes as little surprise that Ormonde spent time watching the second series of ‘Twin Peaks’ during recording. There’s a similar fascination with the undercurrents of love, death, and trust, and the anxiety of whether our interactions with others are harmonious or destructive. The small moments that come to define us over time, a story unravelling: “After you go, I rest my eyes, it’s like they’ve been walking out in storms“ as Williams sings in ‘Paintings’, against a backdrop of Gomez’s Morricone-style twanging guitar and reverberant percussion. An entire world barely hinted at in just a few words. Ultimately, ‘Cartographer/Explorer’ is a wonderful album, compelling in its subtle moves, finding its own sweet way as only the best records do.

      Glissando

      With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards The Burning Sea

      There is an ambience to the record that throws it into the vein of some of the Kranky labels releases but it's more orchestral than that, there's more melody and a lyrical content that just seems to suck you in and hold you close. The closing lines of "Floods" in which Elly May, Richard Knox and Tom Morris (Her Name Is Calla) are all chanting 'you were on fire as they ran to hold the flames, we did not see, so the water never came' is an album highlight, backed by Angharad Cooper's (Held By Hands) soaring violin it has a touch of the likes of Efterklang to it before fading into a shimmering drone section to finish. Glissando's previous comparisons have been to such visionaries as Low and Rachel's, the later is more apparent in "Always The Storm" which is almost classically based in its mood and ambience. As the record comes to a close "Grekken" is another highlight as it's dark tones and an ending of 'you made me kill myself' wrap around you. The added vocal of iLiKETRAiNS' Dave Martin serves a haunting purpose and it throws you into an almost dream-like state before the album closer of "Our Flags Wave And Our Arms Are Around Another's Shoulders" lulls you back into that comfortable place again that you know so well.


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