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NoSound - Lightdark CD (album) cover

LIGHTDARK

NoSound

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.85 | 124 ratings

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AndrewSargent
5 stars Nosound- Lightdark

A review by Andrew Sargent February 2008

This is the second studio release from the Italian progressive/ ambient band and has been much anticipated by the ever-growing fanbase. To try and describe Nosound's music is difficult without having to draw comparisons to other bands and artists. Influences for the band are claimed to be Pink floyd, early Porcupine tree, Sigur Ros and No-man and at various times you can hear some influence from each of these permeate through. Yet, Nosound also manage to transcend such arbitrary typologies and have created a sound which is becoming something unique to them. What we hear from Nosound on Lightdark is a more developed and self-assured collection of music than that which is found on the first album Sol29. Lightdark possesses a more organic sound and has a more consistent feel over all. The band are clearly benefiting from having played together live. The process of rehearsing and developing the music for the live audience has created a richer sound, in terms of the instruments used to create the soundscapes. The transition from a primarily solo project- with Giancarlo Erra playing and writing most of the music- to a more collaborative approach to song writing, is evident. This is reinforced by the inclusion of No-man's Tim Bowness on 'someone starts to fadeaway'. Tim's effortless vocals and distinctive lyrics are well suited to Nosound's music. In Tim's own words, this song "managed to combine strong and accessible melodies along with an interesting approach to texture without compromise or contrivance".Their collaboration is an ongoing project and more music is expected from them later in the year. Cellist Marianne de Chastelaine adds some mournful passages on three of the songs and this adds more depth and richness to the music. For those who have yet to hear this music, you need to understand that hook-lines, choruses and 'killer-riffs' are not on the agenda here. This music for the soul, not the feet; sonic worlds are created, shaped and presented in a melodic feast for your senses. Lightdark draws you through phases of sadness and hope, calm and unease but always brings you back to a world of lightness and beauty. Perhaps the key to Giancarlo's music is that he can show you the beauty that exists in the harshness of the world and the peace that lies within sadness.

The Lightdark packaging reflects the music well. Once again, Giancarlo has demonstrated that he is not only a fine musician but also a very accomplished photographer. Each song has an accompanying image in the booklet. You know then that the images have not been made from the eye of a third-party based on their interpretation of the music, but instead is forged from the same mind from whence the music has come. This seven song album runs to nearly 54 minutes and seems to flow seamlessly from start to finish. The track order has obviously been given some considerable thought so that you are never really surprised by what happens next. So, to the songs: "About butterflies and children"- This song features gentle synth backing to a slow piano accompaniment. The stall is set out here for the whole album. You are eased into the world of Nosound. Whatever was going on in your life is now being left behind. I feel that this is a perfect opener to the album. (8/10)

"Places remained"- Fans will have already familiarised themselves to this song as it has been available as a free download for some time. Probably the most accessible song to the uninitiated, this is a melodic song that shows off the stunning guitar work of Giancarlo, whilst also giving us a glimpse at how the rhythm section (provided by Gigi Zito on drums and Alessandro Luci on bass) can 'rock out'. If Nosound were the sort of band that released singles, this would be the obvious candidate. Nevertheless, it is possibly the song that will attract the attention of a wider audience. (7/10).

"Misplay"- Giancarlo provides his distinctive vocals along with some of the most beautiful cello that you will ever hear. This song is an extension of the first track but is different enough not to be 'butterflies pt 2'. (7/10)

"From silence to noise"- This is the epic on the album. A 15 minute song that does something that very few long songs don't do; it doesn't feel like it is 15 minutes long! Vocal harmonies on the opening section are accompanied by acoustic guitar, giving the song beautiful texture. Giancarlo song ups the ante with some guitar soundscapes before the whole song withdraws into an ambient section. This is classic prog! Synths provide and angelic backdrop for a short time, allowing you to let go of what you have just heard. Giancarlo then re-enters with a lead guitar solo that heralds the return of the vocal harmonies. The song closes with ambient synth, cymbals and gentle electric guitar chords. Samples of distant children playing are heard and you are transported away. And before you know it, the song is over. Superb! (9/10)

"Someone starts to fade away"- This song is bought to you by Nosound's collaboration with Tim Bowness of No-man. Musically it is a fairly simple affair. Piano and synth backing track are little more than a platform for Tim's vocals. Apart from a guitar solo by Giancarlo at the mid-point I was left feeling a bit disappointed by this song; perhaps that is because it sounds more No-man than Nosound, and I prefer the music of the latter. (5/10).

"Kites"- This is another song that could be described as classic Nosound. They have now recorded enough music that we can see how their sound is developing. The whole song has a great depth, musically. Once again, the cello of Ms de chastelaine adds a heartbreaking sadness to the gently rolling rhythm. Giancarlo's vocals sound as if the words of this song really hold some special significance to him. The synth solo is perfectly proportioned to the overall sound and does not overpower the beauty of the song. The closing refrain from the cello will haunt you for ever!(8/10)

"lightdark"- This is an ambient classic. You get a feeling with this song that you have been on a journey and that you are being slowly bought back to your starting position. Here again, synth and piano combine to provide the backing to vocal harmonies. I like the feel of this song. The lilting guitar lifts the mood as the song drifts away. (8/10).

Lightdark is a very accomplished album and is a great showcase for the way in which Nosound have developed since the first album. This album will win over a new audience whilst still appealing to the existing fans. Those who know Nosound will adore this album and will be encouraged by what they hear. The collaboration with Tim Bowness will add a new dimension to the project but, from what I have heard on this album, should not change what is essentially a unique blend of ambient soundscapes and progressive music. Over all rating 8/10.

AndrewSargent | 5/5 |

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