VLMV – For Empire – Live At Tortington Church

Picture by Paris Grace

On one cold, wet and windy afternoon in early November VLMV, aka Pete Lambrou, brought VLMV’s live set up to a Twelfth Century Church on England’s South Coast.

The resulting video is a beautiful one-take-completely-live recording of usual set opener ‘For Empire’, taken from the latest album Sing With Abandon. For Empire’s title and general demeanour evoke an apprehensive anti nostalgia for the old world, and the lyrics are plainly critical, but throughout weaves a feeling of yearning: ‘I was hoping someone could turn this boat around’.

Pete Lambrou on the setting:

“This had to be recorded and filmed in an old Church; being one of the absolute pillars of old empire. The older the better. Not all the songs from the album were written in the midst of lockdown. A couple were performed live on the last tour before the pandemic hit, including For Empire. But their roots are in the aftermath of Brexit, and this feeling of abandonment I’d felt throughout, and then the realisation that your neighbours aren’t who you thought they were.”

The Churches Conservation Trust:

“Tortington, the homestead of Torhta’s people, is recorded in Domesday Book (1086). The entrance to this twelfth-century flint church looks like something out of a mediaeval fantasy – three rows of Norman carvings arch over a thick wooden door set with ornamental hinge straps. Inside, creatures unlike anything found in nature peer down from the chancel arch. They are called ‘beakheads’ – boggle-eyed monsters with beaks, tongues and squid-like  tentacles that frown and glare at visitors below. Once they would have been painted in bright colours to entertain – or terrify – worshippers.”

VLMV (pronounced and formerly known as ALMA) is a self-proclaimed ambient-ish post-something singer-songwriter / producer from London. Part of the illustrious Erased Tapes family, VLMV have released 2 albums on Fierce Panda Records, alongside 2022’s Sing With Abandon out on Pete’s own label, Nice Weather for Airstrikes. Live, VLMV deploy loop stations, multiple delay pedals, piano and strings to create a slow-moving, high-flying soundscape of luscious gravitas.

“Building atmospheric and quietly epic soundscapes that creep up on you unannounced….like a beam of light through a dark, cold night.” – Lauren Laverne BBC6 Music

“As worthy of your love and admiration as anything Sigur Rós or Explosions In The Sky have released” Team Rock

Featured image by Jess Robinson