Mon 23rd August 2021
A quick breath in, a slow breath out. Unzip the tent and poke your head out into the crisp morning air. That’s the fresh, pastoral sound conjured up when pressing play on the debut release from Peak-based Great North Star.
Steeped in subtlety and a slew of effects, this minimal, yet elegant outfit bring you vast but somehow simultaneously microscopic sounds that swirl around like a fine brandy.
Perhaps rooted in the 90s realm of the likes of Star of the Lid, Rachels and other quieter proponents of quiet, introspective, contemplative composition, the interplay of guitar and bass here, along with a grainy, barely-there ghost of electronica (think the glitching beauty of Telefon Tel Aviv for example) means you are locked in to this close, beautiful sound from the start.
Hints at the blues as well as ambitious prog rock creep in at points, but the mantra-like presentation often makes this feel like a deep meditation session.
Every note here is naked, stark and sounds warm and inviting, songs drift by in different shades, but the pervading impression you get here is one of calm and being lost in a dreamlike state.
Where focus is sharper, on the likes of ‘Being & Nothingness’, the prog influence is here with a driving, more melancholy influence materialising. These aren’t merely formless jams, but clearly mapped out compositions. Comparisons are hard to draw, but a more stripped back and less crescendo-rich take on Sheffield’s Gilmore Trail isn’t far off.
Live, this will no doubt unfurl one of those magical gig atmospheres where silence from the audience is an unwritten rule, the clink of glasses and the slow, careful shutting of a cash register should be the only permitted sound.
The sound of a pin dropping or a bird landing on a branch has arrived, it is now known as Great North Star.