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Vashti Bunyan - Lookaftering CD (album) cover


Vashti Bunyan


Prog Folk

4.05 | 6 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Vashti Bunyan sings with a measured beauty that is quite stirring to the soul with an uplifting melancholy edge. The sounds of her album is perhaps the quietest most serene music on the planet. So startling is the tranquillity that it transports you to a place of long forgotten memories and reflection. The songs are short and come with Vashti's acoustic or the piano playing. At times a flute/mellotron augments the beauty or a violin transcending the splendour of solitude. Vashti's voice is mixed to the front of the sound so that she can evoke emotive whispers or softened singing, in an admirably relaxed repose. It is rather surprising how apt the rabbit illiustration on the album cover becomes as it seems to evoke solitude and a sense of searching for meaning.

"Lookaftering" begins with 'Lately' with the peaceful swaying acoustic and Vashti's measured patient quiet introspection. Her voice is high octave folk singing but she hardly uses any pressure and lets her voice simply float along the melodies that are always pretty. A violin augments the sound appropriately played at intervals across the acoustics and a delightful mellotron.

'Here Before' features mesmirising lyrics; "once I had a child he was wilder than moonlight", and Vashti's acoustic is joined by nice keyboard symphonics, the chimes are pleasant and all has a heavenly atmosphere. The way Vashti hardly sings but whispers is always endearing and her octave range is always a pleasure to experience; a layer of beauty upon beauty, relaxing and floating on an enchanting dreamscape.

'Wayward' is enveloped in the sweet beauty of Vashti and an acoustic. Her voice is mixed to the front and very quiet. There is sadness in the mood but still her gorgeous tones are uplifting.

'Hidden' begins with the piano very gently played as Vashti whispers sweet somethings about a lost love. Her voice is breathy and full of regret. It is sad but quite moving. The flute where she sings "I'm with you" is beautiful.

'Against the Sky' has Vashti softly playing her acoustic and her voice is gentle and lovely. "The hill behind the old house I can trace it with my finger against the sky I sleep still," evokes childhood innocence. "Some evening skies were yellow" she sings but wonders what happened to the other colours like green. The harp sound in this is wonderful, I always love the use of harp in folk music. Christina Sonneman is one of the best harp players and this is reminiscent of her style, and the vocals are reminiscent of Mary Duff but sung very softly.

'Turning Backs' begins with piano tinkling a pretty phrase and then joined by violin layers. Vashti sings as the music builds with clarinet and sparkling strings. This one has a very ethereal feel.

'If I Were' is another soft texture and 'Same But Different' is wonderful. I love the lilting flute intro and guitar. Vashti's breathy singing stays on a one note chord and a violin comes in with haunting melodies. The atmosphere is darker with a ghostly feel and that crying violin.

'Brother' follows with sweet vocals and then 'Feet of Clay' with a very nice melody played by flute and guitar, a definitive highlight. Vashti croons sadly "don't waste this dance on me".

'Wayward Hum' is the last song, and one of the best, with Vashti acoustic finger picking her nylon string guitar, humming almost to herself. Max Richter on the glockenspiel is a nice touch towards the end, sounding like a little girl on the toy xylophone while her mother plays quietly. The melody is the same as 'Wayward' but it works as a type of closure to the album.

At the end of this album one feels relaxed and has a moment to reflect on the tranquillity. This album brings the listener down to a point where they can shut out the noise of traffic and the busy world. It is essential that albums like these exist, with simple musicianship and floating on melodies, sung from the heart and stirring to the soul.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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