Northwest | II
Tempel Arts (CD/DL)
Softly intro-ing, Wind opens the sophomore album from Northwest. Simply titled II, Mariuca García-Lomas’ throaty incantations parallel a wispy pedal organ. ‘Here comes the wind from the northwest…’ and the resolute invitation to, ‘let the rain fall on your head…’ The eerie, nearly arduous beauty of the second track Winterland gives way to a horn segment unto a shrieking swell. This movement then resolves into a swinging vocal return.
I’m recalling the dark ethos of Emilíana Torrini’s presentation on ‘Gollum’s Theme’ from the Two Towers soundtrack. These first two tracks yield to The Day but there is little light (nor levity) to behold. Though the lyrics express a recollection of being changed, the preceding lament of inability to sleep is more believable. For the tone and pitch stray sparsely from the mournful avant-pop’s first of two interlude/partitions in the album.
Interlude II – the instrumental featuring strings – begets All of a Sudden. This tremendous expression of a moment smitten of infatuation has an ironic coup, ‘I can’t believe how many years are wasted.’ This dramatic ploy, to capture years of memory into an abrupt instant has a faint cognitive dissonance paralleled in the musicality. As the instruments carry on in psuedo-legato, the articulations have a much more staccato sensibility. Listeners get this delirium of being swayed into reverie but pinched in the fringes of sleep.
As indicated in the title, Before the Spell takes place retrospectively. The clarinet solo commencing the sixth track shyly includes silent pauses. The twelve-minute recollection generates an encompassing spell itself. Almost seamlessly, the reprisal interlude which carries the audience towards the final illuminate assertions of Wasted Light. Even though the big band effect is forged by the London city orchestration (in experimental ensemble conducted by Ignacio Simón), there are is no excessive noise nor a wasted note in this album. It is a certain wintry work of art.