Wed 31st October 2012
Funereal, choral, inward-looking. Strings and pianos echo through the whole of The World Without Us, female vocals near and far, grouped and alone, chant and sing.
It’s the smell of rain, dust settled deep in abandoned houses, a haunting sigh in an empty room.
A miasma of drones, echoes, field recordings, guitar and other sounds shuffle in the distance, but the strings, piano and vocals are the soul of this album.
Each song lingers, five minutes and upwards. This is a solemn listening experience. Not something joyous but beautiful and cathartic.
Glissando hail from Leeds, but sound like they come out of some distant land. Or at least the Yorkshire Dales. Something in the music reminds me of driving up there, out west, looking out from the M62 to the rolling hills, sparse scrub and little else on them bar distant houses and old farm buildings. It was raining the last time I made that trip, the land washed out shades of green and brown and the sky above an undulating grey. The World Without Us sounds like a meditation on that bleak but appealing landscape.
The description on their label’s page calls them, “... ambient, slowcore, classical-based music.” Whilst genre labels are oft-abused, there is something in Glissando’s sound that does remind me of earlier Low and similar pensive bands named as slowcore.
This classical sound, all organic instruments, reverb of rooms and halls, works. The album is a profound and focused statement. It could be argued that tracks tend to merge and are hard to distinguish, but in this case it works to provide a hypnotic lilt. I have cycled through the album several times without even realising, and find myself forgetting what I am doing to stare out of the window at fog and rain, the sound slipping in under perception.
All this hand-waving description is to say: this is a great album. A bit of a heavy listen if you sit with it and pay attention, but confident in its conceptual and stylistic decisions. It works as an active or a passive listen, loud and sweeping or low and in the background.
The album is out on 5th November, and is fitting for the turn through autumn to winter. Chilly, beautiful, ideal for a quiet morning for those of us out on the raggedy edge of nature, watching the weather, trees and fields.