First time on vinyl for Piano Magic's wonderful, evocative soundtrack for the Bigas Luna film 'Son de Mar' (which translates as 'Sound of the Sea'). Mixing Godspeed like string arrangements with beautiful Max Richter like neo-classical compositions and rustic field recordings, Piano Magic made a soundtrack that stands completely alone as an inspiring piece of work and one of the high water marks of their varied career.
This re-issue is officially licensed from 4AD and is exclusive to us!
Vinyl LP £14.99 Nottingham Arms 12
Limited edition one off pressing of 500. First time on vinyl, officially licensed from 4AD. Matt reverse board sleeve.
Glen Johnson's shape-shifting collective released some of their most evocative work with this soundtrack for the Bigas Luna film 'Son De Mar' ('Sound of the Sea').
The soundtrack is split into six equally atmospheric but varied pieces that make excellent use of found sounds as a bedrock for the kind of neo-classical beauty that works so well as scores for film. The actual sound of the sea is indeed used at varying points, most noticeably at the end of the first piece which (unlike the rest of the album) is a rather discordant six minutes featuring a kind of Brian Eno ish e-bowed guitar over bell-like percussion. The track sets the scene for the superb viola playing of James Topham, which takes pride of place on the second piece. The gorgeous intertwining strings are impressive enough to recall some of the most beautiful work of Max Richter. But my two favourite pieces are '3' (with its ticking clock nestling beneath an evocative bell and repetitive voice, a delicious soundscape redolent of late sunny evenings) and the frustratingly brief '4' (where Topham's solo viola recalls Rachels' 'Songs for Egon Shiele').
Pretty much all of the sounds heard in the previous tracks are folded back into the album's closing side-long centrepiece, where steady percussion slowly grows over fifteen gorgeous minutes of water flow, viola and tumbling repeating bells. It's a lovely soundtrack that manages to take the listener off into another world. The combination of the drifting viola alongside the omnipresent sound of waves crashing is just stunning, and culminates in what is surely this group's most emotional instrumental music.
Here's Phil's review from back in 2007 when we were at the cutting edge of music journalism.
The new Piano Magic CD is absolutely lovely - by far the most lovely thing they have done. Beautiful classical ambience, a little Godspeed-y in places. Very grand and yet melancholic at times.
Gorgeous, and the best thing they've done since that 12" on Piao. You need this, even though it's CD only.
9/10 The Doc 27th May 2016
Listened to this while stoned out of my mash last night and ended up just flipping it over and over again for about three hours. Sparse, spectral, Morricone-type soundscapes, the sound of the sea swishing in the background as bells chime, clocks tick ominously, strings are bowed softly and all sorts of other weird stuff floats in and out of the mix. A totally hypnotic, immersive listen. Crystal clear quality on the pressing as well if you've got a decent set of speakers to play it through. Very good indeed.
9/10 Simon James 23rd May 2016
Blimey! I bought this because er... Norman had put it out and it sounded interesting. When it arrived I think my wife thought I'd bought a porn soundtrack - and may be I have as I've never seen the film. But the music is lovely. Evocative, deep, resonant - always drawing you in. Funnily enough it's the sound of the sea itself that seems the most contrived. - things like the sonorous church bell are wonderful. The album sort of becomes what you bring to it on any listening - and then delivers what you didn't know you wanted. And that's worth fifteen-odd quid of anyone's money...
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- Son De Mar by Piano Magic
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