Progradar- Reviews Round Up – Part 1

This article sees me delve into the plethora of new music that has come my way over the last couple of months. I have collated what I consider to be the best of the new releases, albums I would definitely recommend, please check them out and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Marius LeirånesLangtidsperspektiv

Music and geography are closely related. Places have their sounds, and sounds have their spaces. A lot has been said about the “Nordic sound”, whether it be jazz, progressive rock, electronica or extreme metal. We tend to think of isolation, melancholy, a certain kind of light, coldness, vast stretches of ice and rock.

Known from the Norwegian prog band Pixie Ninja, Marius goes back to his childhood home to deliver a sparse, awe inspiring collection of songs that speak of the beauty of darkness and light and the ever changing weather and sometimes brutal, but always beautiful, landscapes of his ancestral homeland.

Electronica, ambient and post rock and prog are all touched upon on this ghostly and sublime release. ‘Langtidsperspektiv’ takes you on a journey that ranges from the serene to the stormy, and from the tragic to the triumphant.

Released July 23rd, 2021.

Order from bandcamp here:

Langtidsperspektiv | Marius Leirånes (bandcamp.com)

The Helicopter of The Holy Ghost – Afters

The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost are Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Billy Reeves (theaudience), Crayola Lectern (Lost Horizons/Departure Lounge) and Mark Peters (Engineers). The original concept for the material was probably formed while Billy was signed to Sony, which at that time, pointed toward a more commercial sound, however Crayola Lectern’s involvement on piano help send the recordings into a more ‘Canterbury’ direction, taking influence from Caravan, Robert Wyatt and the like.

Featuring a guest line-up including Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins, Dale Davis from Amy Winehouse’s band, Andy Lewis from Paul Weller’s group, Smiley from Joe Strummer’s Mescalaros and Thomas Anderson of fellow Kscope signees Gazpacho, the wide-ranging influence herein is evident throughout a very sweet, gentle, calming album of originality and versatility.

The music is low key, bitter sweet beautiful and, above all, has a calming grace imbued by the elegant vocals. The sound seems to just wash over you in a soothing and serene manner and take me back to nostalgic and wistful summers days of years gone past. On of the highlights is the graceful piano playing which perfectly matches the exquisitely world weary vocals.

As the promo material says, “What are these songs about? No-one knows. They are, however, very pretty.”

Released 13th August, 2021.

Order from Burning Shed here:

Afters (burningshed.com)

Giancarlo Erra – Departure Tapes

Departure Tapes is an album consisting of 6 contemplative recordings, written while travelling between the UK and Italy. The majority of these 6 tracks were improvised in the studio by Erra, so for the most part, are totally unique and hold a sincerity which cannot be replicated. It is the follow up to 2019’s acclaimed album Ends I-VII, with the new recordings reflecting what, has been an extremely difficult year for Giancarlo, with the loss of his father to cancer. Erra comments “In 2019 my first solo album was just being released, and I already had the view that I wanted to be more experimental with the second one, but no precise idea how at that point. Then my father suddenly got ill with cancer, and everything changed.”

An expert in knowing how not to fill the empty spaces, Giancarlo has written an instrumental album that speaks of the pain of being distanced from a relative and the simple beauty of a reconciliation. It is a sombre and thought provoking release and feels like a dedication to the father who he knew little of and yet cared for at the end of his life.

If music could tell a story of a life lived, lost and, deep at its core, loved then ‘Departure Tapes’ is it. I am along term fan of this intelligent musician’s brilliant work and this new release is another entry into his very impressive discography, I’ll leave the final words to the man himself,

It’s the first album I have created without realising I was actually writing it, as it is so intrinsically linked to one of the hardest and yet more healing parts of my life. The end result is the most experimental, and at the times, the darkest material I have ever written, without compromise or set plan. It contains all the elements of my music in a very unconscious free flowing way.

Released 2nd July, 2021.

Order from Burning Shed here:

Departure Tapes (burningshed.com)

The Neal Morse Band – Innocence & Danger

With NMB’s previous two releases being concept albums, it’s perhaps remarkable that ‘Innocence & Danger’ is a series of unrelated songs, but drummer Mike Portnoy says “After two sprawling back to back double concept albums in a row, it was refreshing to get back to writing a collection of unrelated individual songs in the vein of our first album.”

There is also plenty in ‘Innocence & Danger’ to excite those prog fans who have a thirst for epics, as Neal Morse explains: “There’s one half hour epic and another that’s about 20 minutes long. I really didn’t realise that they were that long when we were recording them, which I guess is great because if a movie is really good, you don’t realise that it’s three hours long! But there are also some shorter songs: some have poppier elements, some are heavier and some have three part acoustic sections. I’m excited about all of it, really.”

This album encapsulates everything that is good about Neal Morse and The Neal Morse Band, powerful, dynamic and with more than a dose of pomp and circumstance. The opening two tracks on Disc 1 are worth the price of admission on their own, majestic driving, hard rock songs with serious progressive leanings and a group of musicians who definitely know the score, the keyboard and guitar interplay on Bird On A Wire is just brilliant.

Then you get what every prog fan loves, the Neal Morse-penned prog epic and, in Beyond The Years, it is bound to become a classic. Not Afraid Parts 1&2, a cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water that just stays the right side of cheesy, you get just about everything you’d want from Neal and the boys, that man can really (and i mean REALLY) write a fantastic tune!

Released 27th August 2021.

Order from Burning Shed here:

Innocence & Danger (burningshed.com)

smalltape – The Hungry Heart

Smalltape is the project of the Berlin multi-instrumentalist Philipp Nespital, who basically does everything on the album, just about and he is one seriously talented individual. Intelligent, thought provoking and, above all, hauntingly beautiful music that, despite bringing to mind the likes of Echolyn, Radiohead, Steven Wilson and the like, has its own distinct identity.

The stunning album artwork is amazing in itself but venture deep into this collection of ten superb tracks set across two CDs and you will be ultimately rewarded with one of this year’s stand out releases. Cerebral and erudite throughout, the perceptive songwriting marries with Philipp’s creative brilliance to deliver a mind opening musical experience like no other.

I’m a massive fan of music that makes me think, music that doesn’t give up its deepest delights easily and ‘The Hungry Heart’ has that in spades. Hunger, Burning House, Dissolution, the list goes on, cuts of pure musical brilliance that showcase this young German musician as a seriously precocious talent and one to follow closely.

Released 16th July 2021.

Order from bandcamp here:

The Hungry Heart | smalltape (bandcamp.com)

Geoff Proudley is an English composer and keyboard player. He writes mainly for media but has had a number of flirtations with progressive rock over the years. Some with long memories may even recall his involvement with progressive outfit Coltsfoot in the mid-eighties.

Recent activity has seen Geoff return to writing and recording more progressive music. His solo EP ‘Quark’ surfaced in 2019 and 2020 saw a lot of writing, especially during lockdown. Those writing and recording sessions have produced two albums, the first of which is Tales From Strange Travels. Tales is an instrumental album. ‘It’s loosely conceptual. It’s about a journey. A fantastic journey but I like to leave it to the listener to paint their own pictures of what’s happening. Different people will interpret it in different ways and that’s great. Like in a book, we imagine what characters look like and the detail in our mind. It’s subjective and personal. Sometimes being too graphic can destroy that image.’

Geoff reached out to me a while ago but lockdown got in the way and it is only recently that I have been able to get to hear Geoff’s musical opus. I have to admit that I was smitten from the first note, it reminds me of a cross between the capes and mellotron prog excesses of the 70’s, the sci-fi shows of the same era, like Space 1999 and the ilk and those great electronica bands of the era like Kraftwerk. The keyboards flow elegantly and allow the listener’s mind to take them on a fantastical journey with occasional prompts and subliminal suggestions from the well constructed tracks.

It’s got too much intelligence to be considered psychedelic or spaced out like early Pink Floyd but it definitely cannot be considered mainstream either. Imagine your physics teacher having a penchant for some heavily progressive influenced progressive rock and a liking for Stanley Kubrick and you’d be on the right track.

Released 21st September 2021.

Order direct from the artist here:

CD Album – Tales From Strange Travels | gmp-music-production (geoffproudley.co.uk)

“We often start naive and green and either blossom into something remarkable, or we fizzle out – resigning to the life that we feared all along; the one we’ve been resisting – an uncertain path, a repetitive/menial existence, and the promise of a life without limitations. How far are you willing to go to either abandon or protect the way of life that you’ve been leading?”

These words paint the scene for the first act of alternative progressive rock quartet Head with Wings’ next chapter.

Amidst sweeping changes felt on a global scale, aspirations were put on hold, radiant futures dimmed, lives ended prematurely, and dreams were left to rot on the vine. For so many, the struggle was a silent one – a daily war waged alone.

On their forthcoming EP, ‘Comfort In Illusion’, Head with Wings draws the listener into the isolated, agonizing, and momentarily euphoric struggle for self-actualization amidst the stifling frame of an increasingly unfamiliar world. 

The collective’s first output since 2018’s critically-acclaimed debut, ‘From Worry to Shame,’ presents a concise summation of the group’s collective growth as artists and individuals. ‘Comfort in Illusion’ dives deeper into the quartet’s textural and emotive sound exploration with a timely personal narrative of self-discovery and the anxiety of change.

One of the most intriguing bands in the modern age of progressive rock, Head with Wings are masterful storytellers and immaculate musicians and any new release of theirs is a noteworthy event.

The three tracks on this EP have a depth of emotion and layers of sophistication that I have come to expect from this group of talented, young musicians. The music draws you into their intricate storytelling and every note has a widescreen feel to it, making the experience somewhat cinematic and always impassioned.

The poignant, almost melancholic mood that pervades the EP gives and intelligent and thoughtful feel and shows that the band understand that, even if the volume does go up to 11, you don’t always need to turn it up full.

Comfort in Illusion’ shows us that, when you have an incredible emotive depth to your music, less is most definitely more, Head with Wings still span epochs in terms of style, sound and substance and get better with every release.

Released 16th July, 2021.

Order from bandcamp here:

▶︎ Comfort in Illusion | Head with Wings (bandcamp.com)

GIANCARLO ERRA RELEASES NEW SINGLE & VIDEO “PREVIOUS TAPE”

Taken from the forthcoming new album Departure Tapes released on Kscope on 2nd July 2021

With his new album Departure Tapes released this Friday, 2nd July, on Kscope,, UK based Italian composer, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Giancarlo Erra has revealed the 3rd single and video for ‘Previous Tape’. He comments,

“Whatever music I write, whether for a soundtrack or for a rock band, for me, song writing and melody are always something that must be there (I grew up listening to Beatles so I can’t escape that!). At the same time I’m not a big fan of solos, but I’m obsessed with vocals, even if synthesised. I own a couple of synths dedicated almost exclusively to that.

So on Previous Tape, I used a Seaboard (keyboard/synth) because it allows me to play instruments and sounds without quantised pitch, like a vocal (or a theremin), while at the same time with a dynamically controlled expression of other parameters, exactly like I would while I sing.”

The new studio album Departure Tapes, the follow up to 2019’s Ends I-VII, consists of 6 contemplative recordings, written while travelling between the UK and Italy and reflect the extremely difficult year Giancarlo experienced due to the death of his estranged father. Erra comments “In 2019 my first solo album was just being released, and I already had the view that I wanted to be more experimental with the second one, but no precise idea how at that point. Then my father suddenly got ill with cancer, and everything changed. I found myself taking care of this man, someone who I have been distanced from for so long.  During this time both of us to came to terms with many things. I wanted to get closure, but a positive one, for him and for me. 

Creatively it was an interesting period for me – writing this album without realising I was actually writing it, as it is so intrinsically linked to one of the hardest and yet more healing parts of my life. The end result is the most experimental, and at the times, the darkest material I have ever written, without compromise or set plan. It contains all the elements of my music in a very unconscious free flowing way. “

Departure Tapes sees Erra using a wide mix of analogue synths and digital plugins though he is keen to highlight the unsung hero of many of his albums, 

‘The 1979 monophonic Korg MS10, deserves a mention because this synth has a wicked filter, a squelching and screaming one that can really do some unique stuff once you use it with the modular part of the synth. In Departure Tapes and in possibly all of my albums, any bass synth part is performed on the MS10, and I believe is the one sound I use it for most of the times. Once you manually tune down the synth and then you tune and move the filter at resonant peak around the notes you need, this thing is able to make not just walls shaking bass sounds, but also ones that contain enough upper medium frequencies to cut through the mix: I would be lost without this little gem.’

Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and the more electronic / ambient recordings of Brian Eno may offer a reference point by which to enter Erra’s world, but the depth within his recordings is truly original.

Departure Tapes will be released on the following formats and is available to pre-order HERE (https://GiancarloErra.lnk.to/DepartureTapes)

– a gatefold LP on oxblood coloured 180g vinyl

–  2-disc CD/DVD with the DVD-A/V including high resolution stereo & 5.1 mix:

DVD-V: stereo 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS 96/24 5.1 Surround and DVD-A: 5.1 Surround 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes 

– Digitally (with digital pre-orders receiving the single “Departure Tape” as an instant download)

GIANCARLO ERRA RELEASES NEW SINGLE & VIDEO “A BLUES FOR MY FATHER”

Taken from the forthcoming new album Departure Tapes released on Kscope on 2nd July 2021

Having announced his new album Departure Tapes and released the first single “Departure Tape”,  UK based Italian composer, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Giancarlo Erra has revealed his next single and video, the moving and poignantly titled “A Blues For My Father”.

Giancarlo explains the song’s touching significance “After my father’s passing, the mourning brought back the curiosity to go re-look at all the material I wrote during the previous months and I realised I had an album that made a lot of sense. It was dark, experimental for me, confusing but also a discovery, it was a mirror in music of what I was going through. Something was missing, ‘ A Blues For My Father”  the only track that I wrote once back home, and the mournful yet peaceful closure”. 

The deeply personal video he recalls came about after a visit to his father in hospital  “on this particular visit he seemed unusually happy and excited to show me a DVD”, he recalls  “The footage was from the 1950’s and of his family and childhood, sadly his memory was failing at this point but once we started watching these moments came back to him, the people and the places, he was laughing and genuinely happy. I love this footage as it shows my father with his siblings and is the perfect mirror for the peaceful and warm meaning of this closure, a closure to an album and to many other things.”

The new studio album Departure Tapes, the follow up to 2019’s Ends I-VII, consists of 6 contemplative recordings, written while travelling between the UK and Italy and reflect the extremely difficult year Giancarlo experienced due to the death of his estranged father. Erra comments “In 2019 my first solo album was just being released, and I already had the view that I wanted to be more experimental with the second one, but no precise idea how at that point. Then my father suddenly got ill with cancer, and everything changed. I found myself taking care of this man, someone who I have been distanced from for so long.  During this time both of us to came to terms with many things. I wanted to get closure, but a positive one, for him and for me. 

Creativity it was an interesting period for me – writing this album without realising I was actually writing it, as it is so intrinsically linked to one of the hardest and yet more healing parts of my life. The end result is the most experimental, and at the times, the darkest material I have ever written, without compromise or set plan. It contains all the elements of my music in a very unconscious free flowing way. “

Departure Tapes sees Erra play and record every instrument himself along with taking on full production responsibilities at his own studio (https://widescreen.studio). 

Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and the more electronic / ambient recordings of Brian Eno may offer a reference point by which to enter Erra’s world, but the depth within his recordings is truly original.

Departure Tapes will be released on the following formats and is available to pre-order HERE (https://GiancarloErra.lnk.to/DepartureTapes)

·       a gatefold LP on oxblood coloured 180g vinyl

·       2-disc CD/DVD with the DVD-A/V including high resolution stereo & 5.1 mix:DVD-V: stereo 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS 96/24 5.1 Surround and DVD-A: 5.1 Surround 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes

·       Digitally (with digital pre-orders receiving the single “Departure Tape” as an instant download)

GIANCARLO ERRA RETURNS WITH SPELLBINDING NEW ALBUM DEPARTURE TAPES

TO BE RELEASED ON KSCOPE ON 2ND JULY 2021

First single & video for track “Departure Tape” premiered 

Departure Tapes is an album consisting of 6 contemplative recordings, written while travelling between the UK and Italy. The majority of these 6 tracks were improvised in the studio by Erra, so for the most part, are totally unique and hold a sincerity which cannot be replicated. It is the follow up to 2019’s acclaimed album Ends I-VII, with the new recordings reflecting what, has been an extremely difficult year for Giancarlo, with the loss of his father to cancer. Erra comments “In 2019 my first solo album was just being released, and I already had the view that I wanted to be more experimental with the second one, but no precise idea how at that point. Then my father suddenly got ill with cancer, and everything changed.”

Erra, having had a fractured and conflicted relationship with his father since his early teenage years found a way to turn this distressing time into a cathartic experience, “he left when I was 14 and since then he wasn’t really part of my life. Then I received the news of his terminal illness and somehow, I found myself in a situation where I was taking care of this man, someone who I have been distanced from for so long.  During this period, I realised it had become a time for both of us to come to terms with many things. I wanted to get closure, but a positive one, for him and for me, and I think he was the same even though he maybe didn’t know it; this was hard but at the same time ‘healing’ and in a painful twist, it was possibly the most close and positive few months I had with him since I was a small child.” He explains the influence this had on him creatively“It’s the first album I have created without realising I was actually writing it, as it is so intrinsically linked to one of the hardest and yet more healing parts of my life. The end result is the most experimental, and at the times, the darkest material I have ever written, without compromise or set plan. It contains all the elements of my music in a very unconscious free flowing way. 

Watch the video for Departure Tape here:

The first single to be taken from the new album is the extremely poignant and personal “Departure Tape” with the video dedicated to Erra’s father, he explains “This track was written I think when I came back from my first visit to Italy to see my father after he had been diagnosed. It really just began as a live experiment – born and finished within one afternoon. I remember I didn’t really want to do anything; I was exhausted and down, but then, when I started playing the track took shape. I discovered there was much more going on inside my head that needed to be faced. For me, music has been always the only way I can do that, and from this introspection ‘Departure Tape’ was born. It’s almost as a free subconscious stream of thoughts and feelings while recording everything that was happening.”

Giancarlo Erra began his musical career in 2005 with one man studio project Nosound. 2008 saw him signing with Kscope and released a string of albums under the Nosound banner before recording his debut solo ‘Ends I-VII’. Departure Tapes sees Erra play and record every instrument himself along with taking on full production responsibilities at his own studio (https://widescreen.studio). 

Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and the more electronic / ambient recordings of Brian Eno may offer a reference point by which to enter Erra’s world, but the depth within his recordings is truly original.

Departure Tapes tracklisting  

1. Dawn Tape [06:15] 

2. Previous Tape [01:48] 

3. 169th Tape [02:51] 

4. Unwound Tape [08:24] 

5. Departure Tape [16:51] 

6. A Blues For My Father [07:31] 

Departure Tapes will be released on the following formats and is available to pre-order HERE (https://GiancarloErra.lnk.to/DepartureTapes)

·       a gatefold LP on oxblood coloured 180g vinyl

·       2-disc CD/DVD with the DVD-A/V including high resolution stereo & 5.1 mix:DVD-V: stereo 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS 96/24 5.1 Surround and DVD-A: 5.1 Surround 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes

·       Digitally (with digital pre-orders receiving the single “Departure Tape” as an instant download from 22nd April)

(photography by Caroline Traitler)

Review – Nosound – Allow Yourself – by Progradar

Nosound have come a long way since their humble beginnings as a solo project of main man Giancarlo Erra. Six studio albums along with the odd EP and live CD/DVD have seen them hailed as one of the most interesting up and coming alt/art rock bands in Europe. Nosound inventively combines influences from ’70s psychedelia, ’80s/’90s ambient and contemporary alternative and post rock.

The follow up to 2016’s ‘Scintilla’ sees the band forging a different sound. “Allow Yourself’ is a new phase for Nosound. Finding a new balance between organic and electronic sounds. stepping away from rock structures and ditching guitars to have more space for experimentation.”, says Giancarlo, “It is a stripping back of what we have known before, and its inspirations are in a different field altogether, finding the band in a new space once more, wholly embracing Alternative/Electronic influences.”

So is the new sound of Nosound (sorry, couldn’t resist that!) a step in the right direction. Well yes….and no…

There are times when you bemoan the absence of the lush chords and wonderful orchestrations of the previous albums, especially ‘Afterthoughts’ and ‘Scintilla’ and, to my ears, some tracks that just don’t work at all. However, at other times, it’s minimalist feel and heartrending simplicity is painstakingly beautiful.

The highlights of the album are the wonderful, ethereal sounding sheltermy drugthis night and saviour, four tracks where the band’s desire to take the stripped back route works just about perfectly, leaving you with a feeling of whimsical, melancholy delight. The slow burning desire of at peace works particularly well, all the pent up desire burning under the surface but never allowed to break free.

The less is more approach works less well on ego dripdon’t you dare and weights, all good songs but just lacking that spark I have come to expect from this band. I just cannot get into growing in me and defy at all, I’ll just leave it that they are not my cup of tea.

So, overall, I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the new album. I always applaud a band’s desire to progress and change, that is the lifeblood of music but, for me, there is just too much pared back minimalist style on the album. The good tracks are very, very good indeed but they don’t quite make up for the others. It is by no means a bad album but the change in direction just doesn’t fit with my musical ethos.

Released 21st September 2018

Order the album from Burning Shed here

 

 

 

 

NOSOUND ANNOUNCE ‘ALLOW YOURSELF’ THE NEW STUDIO ALBUM AND NEW DIRECTION COMING 21st SEPT 2018 – NOSOUND PREMIERE VIDEO FOR FIRST SINGLE “DON’T YOU DARE”

Nosound’s 2018 studio album Allow Yourself finds the band in a new space once more having grown alongside their evolving and borderless label Kscope. The new material is a stripping back of what has come before, and its inspirations are in a different field altogether, based on founder and songwriter Giancarlo Erra’s own shifting interests.

“Time has arrived for a radical change towards an alternative and electronic direction, being the music I have enjoyed the most in recent years.” 

Giancarlo Erra chose the track “Don’t You Dare” as the band’s first single & video to reveal this new direction: The ‘daring’ aspect is part of the ‘allowing yourself’ process, expressed in this track by an unsettling melodic line and an unusual up-tempo conclusion with disco-like electronic drums. The song then begins its second stage, presenting acoustic instruments in new ways (cello) and then several synced electronics mixed with chopped/inverted acoustic parts.”

Scintilla (2016) began the process and Allow Yourself takes the band’s minimalist vision even further, incorporating elements from The National, Notwist, and Portishead, alongside an approach to mixing inspired by Bowie’s Blackstar and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool.

Founder/writer Giancarlo Erra reflected on the direction of the new material, “The idea behind the album is encased in the title “Allow Yourself”, something directed to the listener but was first of all directed to myself. After attempting to find my own way and leave behind early influences and categorisations, I realised I was afraid of committing to the full change I was chasing. I needed to put myself out of my comfort zone, which meant lots of studying and completely changing my studio and instrumentation. A truly deep change happened and I discovered that with uncertainty and insecurity, with limitations and uneasiness, a more varied and exciting creative process sparked.” 

Allow Yourself was recorded at Erra’s The Bench Music in Norfolk, with additional recording in Rome at Binario2. Songwriting, engineering, mixing, production, mastering and artwork has been handled by the frontman, which has resulted in a coherent message in the band’s new work.

Allow Yourself will be released on the following formats – all available to pre-order HERE now

  • LP –presented on audiophile 180g heavyweight ‘Crystal Clear’ vinyl in a reverse-board gatefold sleeve.
  • CD – presented in digipack reverse-board packaging with a 16-page booklet
  • Digital – available on all major download and streaming services, as well as select HD 24-bit download services, as both a standard mix and binaural mix.

Pre-orders through the Kscope Store will receive an exclusive signed postcard & wristband (till stocks last), immediate download of the first single Don’t You Dare and, on release date, the full album as mp3, uncompressed binaural mix & FLAC 5.1 surround sound mix.

 

NOSOUND PREMIERE NEW VIDEO FOR “IN CELEBRATION OF LIFE” FEAT. ANATHEMA’S VINCENT CAVANAGH FROM NEW ALBUM SCINTILLA

Nosound - Scintilla

With the release of Nosound’s new studio album, Scintilla, the band is pleased to be able to premiere their new video for the song “In Celebration Of Life” featuring guest vocals from Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh.

Giancarlo Erra explains how the song is a collaboration with and tribute to music fan Alec Wildley “’In Celebration Of Life’  was probably among the first tracks written for Scintilla, it was inspired by an artist and well known member of the fellow prog community, Alec Wildey. Those who knew Alec know what happened t and I’m not going to delve into details, but it really was a tragedy that shook everyone.

He was a big fan of Nosound and our Kscope label mates, in the past Alec contacted me to see if we could work together, but I was always too busy, this time I felt particularly hit by the situation, for personal and musical reasons, so I wrote the track and recorded it all quickly in my studio as I wanted Alec to be able to hear it. His lyrics fitted perfectly the music and the message we wanted to send. His reaction to the song was, and I suspect will always be the highest point in my personal career, with my music I felt part of something bigger and beyond me.

Although it was a very difficult time when we decided to collaborate, paradoxically we created a celebration of life song. As I always say the beauty of music is to transform something negative into something positive, transform pain in beauty, anger in happiness, desperation in hope.”

Giancarlo continues on how Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh became involved “This uplifting anthem to life immediately struck a chord with Vincent. I played him the song without saying anything about all this, and he liked it immediately. When I told him about Alec, his emotional and moving reaction told me that he too was somehow linked to that situation, and we instantly knew that we were going to work together on this track.  Anathema and Nosound were two of Alec’s favourite bands and we know now that wherever he is, he’s enjoying the track he worked on with me and Vincent.

For the video we wanted to tell a story, but one that everyone can interpret in their own way: there was a lot of thought put in as to how to leave it open. So,while  I’m not going to reveal my personal story, I  encourage you to look at the details and enjoy the song we wrote In Celebration Of Life, something we should all remember to do every day.”

Scintilla will be Nosound’s fifth album, introducing a wholly new musical and visual approach for Giancarlo Erra’s ever-evolving band, it is an emotionally complex and musically direct work presenting a stripped-down set of compositions that mark a major departure from Nosound’s trademark symphonic lushness and production precision. Taking in influences from Post Rock, Shoegaze and Alt-Singer-Songwriters, the album imaginatively utilises a mostly organic and acoustic sound palette. As well as featuring Andrea Chimenti , Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh lends his distinctive vocals to two of the album’s tracks, and cellist Marianne De Chastelaine returns once more to the Nosound fold (this time in a more free-flowing and improvisational capacity).

Scintilla is available on the following formats:

A deluxe CD/Blu-Ray in Mediabook with a 24 page booklet. The Blu-Ray contains HD stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes, plus additional video content.

An audiophile double 180g vinyl edition (mastered at 45rpm to ensure quality) in a gatefold cover with booklet and poly-lined inner bags. Also includes a download card featuring the vinyl master at 320kbps.

Nosound online: 

www.nosound.net

www.facebook.com/nosoundnet

www.twitter.com/nosoundofficial

www.instagram.com/nosoundofficial

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Review – Nosound – Scintilla – by Progradar

Nosound - Scintilla

“The power of music, whether joyous or cathartic must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace–”
Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

I write reviews and run this website purely for the love of music. I don’t get paid for anything I write or publish and this bothers me not one iota. I am a music lover and I feel it is my mission to expose as many people out there as I can to some of the wonderful, awe inspiring, life affirming songs that are created mostly to be heard and to enrich people’s worlds.

Hopefully this will mean that they will then support the artists by buying the music or sharing it with even more people which will enable those musicians to carry on their creative endeavours. A musical Circle of Life if you like.

This could be upbeat music that just puts you in a really great mood or music written specifically for the love of life. When I’ve had a major upheaval in my life I like to listen to music that soothes my soul and calms me down, cathartic songs that can take the worries and strains of real life and just smooth them away to ease me into a place of calmness. I’m not bothered about genre, it is the music that speaks to me the loudest that I want to hear and, more often than not, it’s one band who my radar zeroes in on….

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Italian alternative band Nosound started as a one man studio project in 2005 by Giancarlo Erra, but has since grown into a five piece band, evolving into something unique, focused and powerful. The music is evocative and intense, with personal songwriting. Influences range from Pink Floyd to Brian Eno, from Porcupine Tree to Sigur Ros, passing through rock and electronic/ambient.

As well as Giancarlo (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Nosound is Marco Berni (keyboards, vocals) Alessandro Luci (bass, upright bass, keyboards) Paolo Vigliarolo (acoustic & electric guitars) and Giulio Caneponi (drums, percussions, vocals).

I discovered the band upon the release of their 2013 album ‘Afterthoughts’ and I was immediately bowled over by their particular type of widescreen melancholia and wistful imagery which really struck a chord with me. This led to the discovery of their back catalogue including such gems as 2013’s reissue of the wondrous ‘Lightdark’, a remaster of the album originally released in 2008.

Their trademark symphonic lushness and winsome ennui really suited many of my moods and I almost felt reborn and pulling free of the trappings of a painful life after listening to the music.

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So, you can imagine that news of a new album by this expressive band is going to make me a happy boy and you’d be 100% correct. Earlier this year an email arrived from the PR company stating:

‘NOSOUND ANNOUNCE NEW STUDIO ALBUM – SCINTILLA & RELEASE FIRST VIDEO FOR “SHORT STORY”’

After barely containing my excitement, I ploughed on to see what we had coming in store for us.

Featuring guest appearances from Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh and acclaimed Italian singer Andrea Chimenti‘Scintilla’ is inspired by personal upheaval and a desire for change and is a wholly new musical and visual approach for Giancarlo Erra’s ever-evolving band. Cellist Marianne De Chastelaine returns tot he fold but, this time, in a more free-flowing and improvisational capacity.

He goes on to say:

“The intention with ‘Scintilla’ was to do something a bit more different than previously and illustrating more vigorously what Nosound is today.

During a decade of activity, my listening tastes have shifted gradually towards a more simpler, more direct music with an intimate character that still retains a certain richness and detail in sound.

Northern folk and alt singer-songwriter music are possibly the stronger influences, but generally speaking, everything that is simple, direct and minimal but with rich sound is what I like, and what I hope this album is.”

This latest work marks the beginning of the second phase of Nosound’s fascinating career.

Nosund garden party

Low key and almost under the radar Short Story makes a very unassuming entrance. Delicate piano, lush soundscapes and an almost ethereal vocal immediately set the tone and calm any rushing heartbeats. With an almost organic creativity to the music, it seems to have a life of its own as it wistfully drifts across your psyche with its gentle sonic palette. Last Lunch immediately takes on a more melancholic and dreamlike note, the music being the tapestry upon which the vocals paint their temperate scene. Initially a paragon of self-control and emotional depth, it really touches you deeply, the wondrous Cello is particularly emotive  and touching. 7 minutes of laid back, low key and yet deeply stirring music has an ultimately cathartic outcome and I find myself afloat upon a sea of my own dreams and aspirations. I saw Nosound play live at The Resonance Festival two years ago and can still remember how much of himself Giancarlo puts into the songs as he sings them. They are part of him and come from the depths of his very soul. As the song comes to a close you feel you have been through quite an emotional journey and are all the better for it.

There is a whimsical feel to the opening of Little Man, nostalgic and playful, as the chiming keyboards resonate. It soon opens up into a much more mature track as the soothing strings and heartfelt vocals stir up emotions deep in your psyche. The way the drums are delivered is relaxed and composed and the Cello, once again, provides moments of pure indulgence. A sinuous soundscape is created that leaves tendrils of thoughtful contemplation floating around in your mind, the meandering guitar playing is another highlight of this reflective song. In Celebration of Life sees the first contribution from Vincent Cavanagh and the introduction is as sonically intimate as they come, small pearls of musical delight surround you and leave you in a tranquil state, musing what is to come next. More verdant strings continue the meditative mood. The whole musical vista that is laid before you is celestially sublime and, when the vocals begin, all breathy and gossamer like, the spell is set and you are caught right in the middle of a thing of utmost beauty. The exquisitely heart-breaking solo is absolutely amazing and strikes you right in your heart, a song of pure delight and wonder.

Nosound in Studio 1

Sogno e Incendio was co-written, and is sung by, renowned Italian singer Andrea Chimenti, it is serenely intense and full of a deeply felt passion. The vocals are delivered in such a fashion as to leave you hanging on every word, whether you understand them or not. The musical accompaniment is classically superb and compliments Andrea’s voice perfectly, it is like a melancholy lament but is oh so beautiful, painfully so in places. The Italian language, especially when sung, is a thing of charm and grace and I am left with a feeling of utter bliss as the elegant guitar floats around your mind. The trancelike Emily is like wisps of cloudlike delights that fleetingly leave an impression on you before moving on, transient and ephemeral notes of music that leave you in a dreamlike reverie. It is surreal but in an exquisite fashion and tugs at your heartstrings all too briefly before departing to who knows where.

Cavanagh returns for The Perfect Wife, a mournful and somber track which wears its heart on its sleeve. There’s a deep lying and potent passion at the core of this powerfully compelling song, the ardent sentiment is clear in the fervor of the vocals. The somber and forlorn music is incredibly emotive and fills you with a sorrowful empathy, the Cello seems to become animate and alive with its own character and draws you even further into this dark and plaintive story. These musicians leave nothing behind and exhaust you with their intensity and ardor, as impassioned a track as you will hear this year. What appears to be an alluring love song at first with its tender piano and fragile vocals, Love is Forever soon reveals its unexpected sarcasm in the cynical lyrics yet you can never get away from the fact that this song has style and artistry at its heart, quite a conumdrum. I just let the winsome music wash over me and enjoy its cathartic powers.

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Evil Smile is an elegantly charismatic track that takes you on a meandering journey through a wonderful acoustic soundscape, the organic feel is increasingly evident in the flow and texture of the vocals and the hypnotic music, especially the strings. The trance-like instrumental sections leave you mesmerised, only recovering when the introspective voice of Giancarlo wakes you from your musing state. The final title track Scintilla takes all that has come before and amalgamates it into something even more divine. A fantastical musical journey where you are the only passenger and there is a musical universe of a myriad opportunities in front of you. Hesitant and slightly unsure, it takes small steps before the halting vocals draw you in and the journey commences for real. A song (and, indeed an album) worth listening to with headphones on and silence around you to pick up every tiny nuance and subtlety. Enjoy a fine wine and just relax as this seraphic track cleanses your heart and soul and encourages the deepest parts of your very being with its almost heavenly grace and charm.

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Not so much a leap into the unknown as a slight re-imagining of who they were before, ‘Scintilla’ is more than just a piece of music or an album of new songs. It alters your state of mind and your very essence and you come out of the other side feeling a better and more complete person. That Giancarlo Erra and Nosound can achieve that is testament to their amazing songwriting skills and musical ability. I implore you to buy this album and, as soon as you can, see them perform it live, I promise you will not be disappointed!

Released 2nd September 2016

Buy ‘Scintilla’ (in various formats) from Burning Shed

 

 

 

 

Nosound announce new studio album Scintilla, and release video for new track ‘Short Story’

Nosound - Scintilla

Nosound’s new studio album, their fifth, entitled ‘Scintilla’ marks a major departure and includes guest appearances from Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh and acclaimed Italian singer Andrea Chimenti.

After a decade of crafting a very particular type of widescreen melancholia and wistful imagery, Nosound’s fifth studio album ‘Scintilla’ introduces a wholly new musical and visual approach for Giancarlo Erra’s ever-evolving band.

Inspired by personal upheaval and a desire for change, ‘Scintilla’ is an emotionally complex and musically direct work presenting a stripped-down set of compositions that mark a major departure from Nosound’s trademark symphonic lushness and production precision. Giancarlo Erra says,

“The intention with ‘Scintilla’ was to do something a bit more different than previously and illustrating more vigorously what Nosound is today. During a decade of activity, my listening tastes have shifted gradually towards a simpler, more direct music with an intimate character that still retains a certain richness and detail in sound. Northern folk and alt singer-songwriter music are possibly the stronger influences, but generally speaking, everything that is simple, direct and minimal but with rich sound is what I like, and what I hope this album is.”

Taking in influences from Post Rock, Shoegaze and Alt-Singer-Songwriters, the album imaginatively utilises a mostly organic and acoustic sound palette.

Musically looser and more sonically intimate than the band’s previous releases, ‘Scintilla’s’ emphasis is placed firmly on feeling rather than technique.

Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh lends his distinctive vocals to two of the album’s tracks – In Celebration of Life and The Perfect Wife, and cellist Marianne De Chastelaine returns once more to the Nosound fold (this time in a more free-flowing and improvisational capacity). Acclaimed Italian singer Andrea Chimenti co-writes and sings on the serene Sogno E Incendio.

Shifting from the uncharacteristic sarcasm of Love is Forever and potent anger of The Perfect Wife to the dreamy sensitivity of Emily and the unusually uplifting Celebration of Life, ‘Scintilla’ represents the boldest statement of Nosound’s career so far.

A cathartic album of emotional extremes, Scintilla marks the brave beginning of the second phase of Nosound’s fascinating career.

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Nosound have launched their first video for the song Short Story – Giancarlo comments of the song and video,

This is one of the shortest and less structured Nosound songs, both musically and lyrically, and yet one that perfectly sets the mood to ‘different’ and prepares for the album. A statement of intentions, so much that it is the opening of the album and  the one we choose to be the  first single. The video was shot specifically for this song, introducing the places where the album was partly written and recorded, and at the same time illustrating the emotional extremes present on the whole album, being at the same time delicate and thunderous without very much for the in-between.” 

Scintila tracklisting

1. Short Story
2. Last Lunch
3. Little Man
4. In Celebration of Life
5. Sogno e Incendio
6. Emily
7. The Perfect Wife
8. Love is Forever
9. Evil Smile
10. Scintilla

Released 2nd September 2016

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