Gilmore Trail – The Floating World review

GILMOREALBUMSheffield post-rock quartet take the name Gilmore Trail from the trail in remote Alaska most renowned for seeing the Northern Lights from. With a name taken with such a close link to sublime nature, it’s unsurprising to find that their colossal instrumental music mimics that. Last week marked the release of the band’s second album, The Floating World, seemingly short at a mere eight tracks, but take into account the ten minute epics that allow the sound to ebb and flow as art taking its natural course, and you’ve got yourself a meaty masterpiece.

From the humble beginnings of crashing waves and piano lead Memories Of Redfern, the album unfolds itself with all the grace of a slow motion kingfisher catching prey; such stark and direct comparisons to wildlife would seem bizarre if it weren’t that the attention to detail and power of the music so exactly copies that crafted by mother nature.

With the epic sound that makes the music so overwhelming, there’s a hand in hand link with the fragility of the creation, as though at any moment the river of music could collapse in on itself to a sinkhole, or break apart to a waterfall. It’s this hint of unpredictability that has the gradually built sound and minute changes imploring you to continue listening.

At times the album is buzzing with optimism, such as the fizzle that starts off Waveless Shore, before the music dips and tails off, scarcely a hum of life in it, to a pit of melancholy. At around three and a half minutes, The Shallows is their most accessible piece for those who want to dip their toe in the vastness of the album, but twelve and a half minute Origins / Oceans holds far more to excite the ear.

The band’s level of control is awesome in the rawest sense of the word, clashing cymbals forming a backing for the intricate riffs and huge bass, whilst piano dances delicately across the foreground of the music. Absorbing and otherworldly, there’s not many who make music that demands respect subtly anymore, and Gilmore Trail have done just that. Bravo.

You can stream the full album below via BandCamp.

Saycet – Mirage review

Several weeks ago, we had the chance to check out the new single from French electronica producer Saycet, and upon listening to the completed work, it’s only fair to say the work gets even better from it. Out on April 6th, Mirage is the third offering from Pierre Lefeuvre under his moniker of Saycet, and the mostly instrumental record features vocals from Phoene Somsavath on the five vocal tracks. Phoene also wrote most of her own melodies for the music, and it’s a tried and tested partnership that’s wonderfully complementary on this record.

Whilst each song is a skilful joy in its own right, the album works fantastically in one listen, each piece (even worthy of the term ‘composition’) blending seamlessly into the next. Opening Ayrton Senna is nothing but simply exquisite, the instrumental ebbing and flowing to prise open the record, before minimalistic and melancholic Mirage introduces Phoene’s vocals with a distinct flavour colouring the music; it’s easy to see why this musical pairing is one that’s lasted.

Volcano continues this bond, with more than a hint of Lana del Rey creeping into the vocals – part trippy, part dreamy, the backing is something to be relished; rather like if Lydia did entirely instrumental music. Piano makes its first appearance in Meteores, eventually fading in amongst futuristic pulses and beats, adding a beyond-modern sound to the music, before Half Awake makes its mark with the brilliant mix of vocals that mingle together perfectly.

Powering into the second half of the record, Northern Lights sees the return of the piano, fading into the synths so gently that it’s hard to spot the difference. Like one long curve the track takes its shape, ever changing yet so subtly that it’s hardly noticeable at first. Such is the power that Pierre has over the music, again highlighted in the opening of Quiet Days, where he displays the creativity with sound you’d expect from a foley artist. Beginning much like a lullaby, Cite Radieuse all but forces you to relax with its opening, later allowing layers to develop that shine through and shift the focus of the music – in many ways, it’s more like a living, changing being that it simply is a song.

The Lana del Rey-esque vocals are once again sublimely fitting in penultimate Kananaskis, albeit lighter and more vibrant than the female pop-star. There are the faintest touches of experimental music pinching into the music, taking Saycet away from the blanketing term of “electronica”, and into a whole new realm. There’s no better way to close the record than Smiles From Thessaloniki, an entirely instrumental masterpiece stretching over 8 minutes, a stand out track and my personal favourite off the album.

Skilful and cinematic, the entire album has been executed with excellent precision and control – unsurprisingly, the production quality is nothing short of perfect, and this third offering is, overall, splendid.