Phaedra is the solo project of one Ingvlid Langgård, a fine art graduate who brings a rich compositional talent as well as a strong visual art practice. On Blackwinged Night, the second album of a proposed trilogy, classical instruments and synthesised rhythms support dramatic, performative vocals. On the Rune Grammofon label.
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Ingvild Langgård heard you liked trilogies and song cycles so she made the second song cycle in a trilogy. A folk record tinkling with sounds both natural and synthetic, it’s probably best described as an ecosystem, snugly coalescing many different elements into a larger whole. If that sounds corny, I don’t care: strings get to swell on this record, so why can’t I?
‘Blackwinged Night’ shows that one of Langgård’s greatest qualities is how she projects sounds: the vocal samples of “Too Much Sugar” are shot through a more processed kind of production, led into the background while theatrical elements come together at the front: strings, chiming bells and tinkling wooden xylophones. The reality is tabled for another day while a fantastical sound unfolds at the centre of things.
Langgård’s style evokes a Sandro Perri or latter-day Bjork in its lack of hooks or pop song bent: rather, these songs are about creating and then rerouting atmosphere, taking delight in changing direction. “Half Human” pauses its marching drumbeat for glassy arpeggios before bringing it back in bolder, while “The Void” slowly allows its rhythm to climates to the multiple intonations of voice set off. Here, Langgård evokes Laura Mvula, in that she creates a captivating song without ever forcing it towards one particular motif. Recommended for wilderness retreats that take a magical turn.
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