Richard J. Birkin has put together a very subtle collection here on Vigils, with many of the pieces containing nothing more than stately piano and wispy strings, the latter provided by Iskra Strings, who you may have heard with Radiohead or Johann Johannsson. A hushed record, full of melancholy wonder and quiet drama. On Reveal.
9/10 Jamie Staff review, 08 March 2016
Richard opens as he means to continue, with stately piano pursuing a straight line though opening track "Vigil 1"; wispy strings provided and majestically played Iskra Strings Quartet - and also what sounds like muted jangling guitar, curiously uncredited and I don't think it's just my ears. The post-classicism with post-rock stylings continues - in what feels very definitely like 'song' format, each track encapsulating its own unique world - with "Accretions", undulating piano, electric piano and Iskra's strings combining to melancholic and powerful effect.
The way space in the sounds does bring to mind the obvious reference points; Mark Hollis, Nils Frahm, Steve Reich and so on; the interconnection and spacial relativism does set the record apart though, in terms of how the sounds relate to each other as with internal body rhythms, communication between living, breathing structures; so vitally yet so subtly. And then there's the voice of that acoustic guitar, again. Lovely.
A slow-burner yet instant-classic in feeling; an essential, beautiful, alive, thrilling record.
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- Vigils by Richard J. Birkin
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