Woven Wheat Whispers Sand Snowman : I'm Not Here -digi- (UK,2006)****'
update: -> Tonefloat Rec.->LP (re.2008)*****-->CD(re.2010)*****
This second album from the group is very different from the first, rather improvised and somewhat psychedelic instrumental album, and it surprised me a lot.
It is as if with the few seconds of sounds of crows in the background, on the first track, “Stained Glass Morning”, that the darker side and aspects of the first album are being left behind, and are transformed into a sad and beautiful melancholy, in a light and consumable form of a song, with guitar and flutes and with female vocals.
The female vocalist on the first tracks could easily bring references to some ‘70s psychfolk items (although I don’t know really which items to mention, perhaps Agincourt, ..). This voice (and additional vocal arrangements) is slightly ethereal and soft, but real and directly sensible. The composer or arranger, Sand, seems now to use all the ideas from his previous album, to give a strong form to the song, like with a few touches of flowing electric guitars, organ and keyboards. With this form developing, the album sounds from here like a perfectly arranged song based album, but I have no information whatsoever who wrote the songs, and who is this vocalist.*
The next track, “Blue-eyed deVille”, in the same vein, has additional percussion, electric bass and brilliantly played acoustic guitars (with a few extra strange sounds from the end of guitar strings bringing in a new elements, which later would develop and bring the compositions to whole new areas), with touches of flutes, and with a few intelligent variations in the musical themes, led by the acoustic guitar. This will lead to more arranged and contemporary ideas on the next, more free but still multilayered and arranged, improvised track, called “Some Unearthly Splendour”, as an introduction for the next song, “The Lantern” which has vocals with a darker, more gothic mood. Also here the multiple arrangements continue brilliantly : while one part develops rather free in the background, the picking evolutions lead very consciously in cooperation with the song. The track moves vibrantly and becomes very emotionally driven, with a bit of additional percussion which is crafted on the right emotional pulses. Also the vocals move with everything almost intuitively. This leads almost unnoticeably to a more clear song focused track, “Arms of Oblivion”, while the acoustic guitars pickings continue to accompany with some additional keyboard textures.
Above all, Sand proves he is a gifted arranger, interpreter, and guitarist on this release. This is especially clear, when in the last tracks, the composer gets the full perspective in the instrumental parts that follow. The acoustic guitar here gets its full role, while a bit of organ, xylophone, and other textures / arrangements knead the composition to a few more variations, to a part with slide guitar, and with a more band-kind of sound organically interweaving into the composition. Also the experimental side now gets its full expression, and proves to be equally thoughtful. With a few more excursions, all hanging together as one logical composition, and with a few more passages with extra Fender Rhodes, guitars, bass and drums, flute and even vocal improvisation passages, with full control the composition concludes with all its mighty dignity with a more classical inspired guitar theme. Brilliant.
* Afterwards I found out that the vocals on tracks 1, 5 and 7 are by Moonswift, and on tracks 2 and 4, by Nyx.
Having listened again to this album on LP it feels even better as I remembered it. A brilliant large guitar-picking led composition and beautiful songs. This is absolutely brilliant !!