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Subzar are an English quartet  who travelled to Austria to record this, their second album which appears to be a concept something to do with migrating birds and those people who live a similar transitory lifestyle. The song titles are long and wordy, the concept mid to high brow therefore plenty to send a chip-loving fool like me reaching for a CD of Cast’s greatest hits. However, the ...

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pico by subzar
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8/10 Clinton Staff review, 03 January 2014

Subzar are an English quartet  who travelled to Austria to record this, their second album which appears to be a concept something to do with migrating birds and those people who live a similar transitory lifestyle. The song titles are long and wordy, the concept mid to high brow therefore plenty to send a chip-loving fool like me reaching for a CD of Cast’s greatest hits. However, the music is unremittingly gorgeous. Based around swooping, soaring violins,  the four pieces are long and full of melody and invention.

Although four are listed on the sleeve, they appear as one long track on the CD so forgive me for being unable to differentiate between them. It opens with gently plucked guitar harmonics before nosediving into a beautiful section of wonderfully recorded intertwining violins. The feel is very much of the ‘classic’ work of Rachels on ‘Music For Egon Schiele’ and Max Richter on ‘The Blue Notebooks’. The track seems to develop in sections, a favourite coming four minutes in with strummed acoustics and almost piercing violin/viola interplay. Later, a short piece of slightly reverbed strings brings to mind Martin McCarrick and Gina Ball’s playing on This Mortal Coil’s unsurpassable ‘It Will End In Tears’.  

This would be the perfect release on London’s excellent Second Language imprint and often recalls the overlooked and must-be-due-for-a-re-issue ‘For Every Day You Lost’ by Lanterns on the Lake violinist Sarah Kemp under her Brave Timbers moniker. That and a bit of Harold Budd, Penguin Cafe Orchestra and you get a wonderful (if short) string laden song cycle.

 

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