Unheard –  Astronomical Twilight (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a2181228105_16All music is going to remind you of something that you have heard before, how can it not, there is a finite amount of material to work with and only so many ways that you can combine it. It is a big number, but not a limitless number. Sadly most people are content to put the same building blocks together in pretty much the same ways. So when the opening track of the album drifts towards you like an as-yet-unheard Vangelis soundtrack, you know that you are in rarefied company indeed.

Unheard is one of those albums that, for the most part, shimmers rather than grooves, chimes rather than employs riffs, it moves with ambient grace and sometimes almost glacial pace and the result is stunning. Tracks such as Midnight conjures grand vista’s or dramatic images of deep space, Stratosphere is built of soaring crescendos and Satellite is a collection of wonderfully strange sonics and sweeping majesty. It is music that evokes such power in so few musical moves. It is conciseness personified.

But there are also a few less transient moments when beats are employed to better define structure and clothe a few of the songs in more conventional music trappings. Broken runs on a hypnotic and almost industrial beat and Radar is a wonderful trippy piece of synth-pop, bleeping rather than drifting, pulsing rather than swirling. It’s a strange futuristic minimalist alt-dance moment, where the music seems to often just hang between the beats rather than be served by them, all of which adds to the otherworldliness of the number, a glimpse of dance music to come perhaps? Perhaps.

It is an album of moods and atmosphere, where space is used as much as an instrument as the beats and notes are, where the pauses and anticipations, the non musical components, are used as punctuation, the points of grammar to this beguiling musical language. Glorious, graceful and nothing short of majestic.

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