Title: With Our Arms Wide Open
Catalogue Number: Gizeh GZH17
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2008
Without wishing to wallow in the woes of being a reviewer, this is not that easy a job. Some albums have immediate appeal and some take a while to get into your psyche. Either way, you have to come up with some words to describe what you have heard. Certainly the first impressions of this new album from Glissando were of a more grandiose take on the ambient genre. Perhaps like something that you would expect of a release from the 4AD label but let us not be misled by first impressions.
With sparse instrumentation and Elly May Irving's vocals drifting quietly out of the sonic darkness, the opening track "We Are Depleting" functions as an overture to "With a Kiss and a tear". That is something that is unusual about this album. All the tracks merge together. I don't mean that they all sound the same. More like classical music where each song is a movement that forms part of the whole. When I sat down to listen to this album for the third time, I was not actually aware of where the songs started and finished. In a world of 3 minute, 2 men and a laptop pop songs, this is a very refreshing approach. I'm still haunted by the mournful violin playing on the aforementioned "With a Kiss and a Tear" as well.
"Goodbye Red Rose! This was not for you" also captivates your attention. It feels like an aural version of a fairy tale. Not one of the nice ones either but one from the Grimm Brothers. The most conventional song is perhaps the hypnotic "Grekken" that very nearly has a chorus! This album reeks atmosphere and it casts its spell upon all whom listen.
I suppose that you might describe this album as Tom Waits does a tribute to Mahler. There is depth to the darkness however and those plaintive vocals lift the tone and give a curious other worldly feeling to it all. It is actually quite a complex multilayered production if you listen carefully but your attention is rarely drawn to the technical aspects. Not one for the casual listener then but an album full of grace and beauty and one that is easy to recommend.
May 28, 2008
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