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2 stars I wish there were no sounds here.

Well, before I got this album I had read that Nosound sounds like (early) Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Pink Floyd and most post-rock bands and I thought that it would be my cup of tea perhaps, but now I can say that unfortunately I don’t like this record.

I can hear here neither post-rock/ambient (Nosound has nothing to do with God Is An Astronaut, for instance), nor inspired art rock (early Porcupine Tree is much better IMHO).

About butterflies and children (-/10) is just a 3-minute keyboard/piano intro, which seems to me a bit senseless. Places Remained (4/10) is a strongly inspired by early PT stuff track with an enjoyable bass and a good guitar solo, but there’s nothing special/new for me. The Misplay (2/10) is a very boring track with some changes at the symphonic end. From Silence And Noise (3/10) – well, here we have a 15-minute epic! The first 8 minutes is just a monotonous sound with vocals, then a guitar solo at least somehow enriches the song, but the last 5 minutes of the track is so boring that I can hardly listen to the whole song from beginning to end... Someone Starts To Fade Away (3/10) – here we have nice guitar solos, but again there’s nothing interesting here. Kites (6/10) is probably the best track on the album. Fortunately, this track contains drums and even an inaudible rhythm and very nice violins and symphonic instruments; vocals are very Wilson-like. Lightdark (3/10) is 8-minutes track with some sounds and guitar solos, but once again there’s nothing catching/intriguing/charming here...

No rich and beautiful atmospheres. Just senseless sounds followed by guitar solos. Nosound just can’t manage to write high-quality post-rock/ambient stuff at the moment. Hope, in the future they will.

Report this review (#161191)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#161399)
Posted Saturday, February 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This my review for , a greek online music magazine :

I was very happy to receive this release not only due to that Nosound's latest offering had grabbed my interest but also because it comes from one of my favourite independent labels, Burning Shed. After Sol29 then, which had given indications of their aesthetic and musical direction, Nosound produce an even more ambitious and complete project from which we can draw safer conclusions about the intentions of this Italian group.

Initially the record intrigued me due to the opening About Butterflies and Children which mainly brought to mind the first Bass Communion releases and the piano-intensive, ambient melodies of Harold Budd. The following Places Remained walks a more familiar path to their usual prog dwellings, with synths and guitar solos leading the proceedings. The situation is similar throughout the rest of Lightdark, including prog opuses (From Silence to Noise) which bring to mind Porcupine Tree of the Sky Moves Sideways and Signify era with a very Bark Psychosis attitude towards production, but also some quite minimal piano pieces (The Misplay, Lightdark) which enforce the ambient aspect of the release. If I am allowed the pun, the sound of Nosound here, is mainly that of the acoustic instrument, since acoustic guitars, pianos and natural background sounds, along with the cello work of Marianne de Chastelaine, are heavily featured throughout the recording. Electricity bears its mark mainly on the Dave Gilmour-esque guitar solos of Giancarlo Erra, who is the main composer of Lightdark and generally the mastermind of Nosound.

The most interesting thing about Nosound, and that which ultimately sets them apart from their peers is that you cannot easily categorise them under the current 'labels' we are all quick to use. The sound of Lightdark is much more artistic and atmospheric than that of most of the neo-prog bands we've heard lately, but at the same time stands so influenced by the classic prog and post rock bands that one hesitates to call them an ambient band. Special mention goes to Someone Starts to Fade Away, a piano ballad which might be the most emotionally charged moment of the record, guest starring Tim Bowness (No-Man) on vocals. It would not surprise me if I heard this song on a Bowness solo outing or if it were a leftover track from No-Man, and it's pretty sure to say that this favourite singer of ours is behind this composition. His melancholy performance and lyrics steal the show once more and make it plain that he's one of the leading voices in his field. As it stands it's an excellent inclusion in the album and my pick for the most potent moment on Lightdark.

Nosound maybe cannot claim to be extremely novel but it's pleasing to listen to well-executed variations on familiar and loved themes, especially when they carry the rich emotional impact of a record such as Lightdark.

Report this review (#162292)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Nosound - lightdark

It is hard to begin to review this album because there are so many angles I could take. You can put this album into one of several categories - Progressive Art, Electronic (though there is lots of guitar and acoustic drums), or possibly Psychedelic/Space. This is not a bang your head album, it is a very thoughtful one. I am going to try to convey the feeling of the album by starting with the first track.

The first track about butterflies and children is there to set the tone and expectation of the album. It is the shortest piece on the album at 3:02 minutes and is keyboard based (synths and piano). It is quite nice and peaceful. It flows masterfully from moment to moment and has a lot of guts/heart to it. My personal feeling is that this album has what would be considered a perfect blend of keyboard, guitar, drums, bass, and vocals. Every tune on this album must have been carefully considered and worked over as the whole album flows flawlessly from beginning to end - not to mention the individual track's own personalities. Several tracks that didn't quite fit the flow were released on a downloadable CD titled Clouds (another recommended listen - my favorite: like the elephant. But I digress... There are many layers to this album and each listen I hear something different which draws my attention to a different direction. There are little nuances around every corner if you care to listen for them.

The second track places remained would be hit of this album if there was one. It is radio airtime friendly at 4:29 and is an excellent blend of keys, guitar, drums, and vocals. It is quite catchy and one of my favorites of the album.

The forth track from silence to noise is quite long 15:29 and probably the masterpiece of the recording. The keyboards, guitar and vocals are almost haunting. There are concepts and themes employed through the entire album. Consider the album title and song title when listening. This does not feel like a 15 minute song, it's actually goes by a lot quicker.

The fifth track someone starts to fade away features Tim Bowness (From NoMan fame). If I would say one thing, Tim and Nosound are a great match - just as Tim and Steven Wilson are. This is another excellent tune with another phenomenal guitar solo by Giancarlo.

The final and title track lightdark is another great example how the vocals are part of the music and not a separate entity placed on top of the music. The influence of David Gilmore/Pink Floyd is quite evident here. The guitar work could be mistaken for something off of Meddle (One of my all time favorite albums).

As a final note, I have a standard I measure a band by. Studio recordings can be hacked and engineered six ways to Sunday. The mark of a great band is if they can reproduce the music as good or BETTER when performing live. I had the privilege of seeing this band play a live gig and they pulled it off in spades (which is a very good thing). I deem this album and band worthy of the highest praise.

Report this review (#162358)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars It took me some time to warm up to this one. "Sol29" is one of my all time favourite recordings and I was counting on something similar, but this one is more ambient and less emotional for me. "Places Remained" and "From Silence To Noise" were both instant classics for me, and "Kites" is really good, but the rest just doesn't do a lot for me. It's slow moving much like a NO-MAN record. Speaking of which Tim Bowness sings on one track.

"About Butterflies And Children" opens with waves of synths and organ. Sporadic keys before a minute and throughout this slow moving soundscape. "Places Remained" opens with heavy drums that are slowly pounded as synths come in then vocals. The chorus is more passionate and fuller sounding. Guitar 3 minutes in is fantastic as it soars on and on to the end of the song. "The Misplay" is another slow moving song with the focus on the vocals this time as synths float along more in the background. Keys from intro are back before 2 1/2 minutes. Cello after 3 minutes as keys continue. It's ok.

"From Silence To Noise" is by far the longest track at over 15 minutes. It opens very quietly with synths and other sounds. Acoustic guitar before 2 1/2 minutes as vocals follow. Drums before 4 1/2 minutes as the tempo picks up a notch. Great sound that reminds me of "Sol29". It becomes more powerful after 7 minutes but it's brief. Atmospheric soundscape until the guitar arrives 8 1/2 minutes in with a beautiful solo. Vocals return after 9 1/2 minutes for a minute as waves of synths and acoustic guitar end it. "Someone Starts To Fade Away" opens with keys as guitar and synths join in. Vocals(Tim Bowness) after a minute. Love the guitar that cries out 5 minutes in and continues for almost 3 minutes. "Kites" is very mellow as vocals come in around a minute. Cello follows. The chorus sounds beautiful. More cello late. "Lightdark" opens with keys as vocals follow in this mellow soundscape. Synths become prominant 3 minutes in. Guitar joins in after 4 minutes. This continues until 7 1/2 minutes in when the rain starts to fall as melody stops.

Still a 4 star record, but a low 4 from me.

Report this review (#171781)
Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Lightdark is the second album from Italian ambient/ atmospheric rock band Nosound. I was very impressed with their debut album and really enjoy listening to that one once in a while and Lightdark continues the style Nosound initiated on Sol29. Their sound reminds me of the most slow and ambient Porcupine Tree songs and there is definitely also a Pink Floyd influence but Nosound has their own sound despite the obvious influences. This is the kind of music where you can disappear while listening to it. It´s very meditative and soft.

The songs are very simple but has lots of layers of synth while bass, guitar and drums are also a part of the soundscape. This time around Nosound has also included Cello in some of the songs and the sound of the Cello really adds an extra dimension to the songs in which it appears which is The misplay, Kites and the title track. The songs are generally slow building and only slowly adds new layers to the compositions but the songs never gets too repetitive or boring. In the case of Nosound I rather enjoy their slow building atmospheres. There are some really majestic and beautiful guitar solos on the album that needs to be mentioned as well. The synth sounds that are used sounds very grand. When the climaxes comes in the songs I´m almost blown back in my seat by this wall of synths. It´s pretty spectacular and a real treat IMO.

The musicianship is very good on the album. I haven´t yet mentioned the vocals which are heavily accented but in a quite charming way. The vocals are simple and almost works as another instrument when they appear.

The production is otherworldly. One of the best modern prog rock productions I have listened to in a long time. It´s quite overwhelming at times. Very elaborate.

Nosound is such a great band and I enjoy their music very much. Lightdark is the natural progression from the debut and with this album Nosound have developed their style just enough to not sound stagnated. Their music is not original as such but they have their own take on this ambient rock style that pleases me and moves me. Lightdark is a sure 4 star album and it´s equally as good as the debut so if you liked that one this is a sure buy.

Report this review (#175332)
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars NoSound - 'Lightdark' 4 stars

All the grievances I had on the debut were mostly solved on this album. The potential I saw for them to get better in my opinion is fulfilled.

Continuing from the last track on 'Sol 29' the intro to 'Lightdark' was just akin in terms of beauty, exquisite ambience to take the mind to a heightened peaceful experience. The vocals did get much better. Giancarlo sounds pretty good when he is 'singing', but when he tries his laid back/whispering vocals, it just sounds like a huge struggle to pronounce some words. Even if the vocals were still a problem, they are very scarce on this record, the beauty that was thrown in the background on the first album is brought into the spotlight, and it shines ever so bright.

The second track 'Places Remain' was the single off the album. I actually consider it one of the weakest songs on the album, and that is not to discredit it at all, my reasons later. The stark contrast of what Giancarlo can sound like between his two vocal styles can be seen hear. The chorus features his good side, while he kind of ruins the verses with his broken English.

The other tracks were far more interesting. There is a cello on some of the tracks that adds to the beautiful keyboard work. 'The Misplay' and the end of 'Kites' show some of the finest points in NoSound's music so far, I think the cello should have a permanent spot in the line-up, the melancholy of the cello and bright keyboard samples work so well in unison, creating such a unique/diverse experience. The guitars and drums are very restricted on this album, which isn't a bad thing in my opinion. The title track's guitar solo is so very Gilmourish and 'Places Remain' sounds like a Wilson solo as well, suffice to say, Giancarlo needs to find somewhat of his own guitar sound.

However, the influence that sticks out the most might be No-Man. Even Tim Bowness vocals are featured on one of the tracks, which save Giancarlo from perhaps butchering the song. The overall feel of the slow work makes it feel similar to No-Man, but not sounding like an imitation of it or anything.

Really, the only problems here were SOME of the vocal parts and some of the guitar spots. I thought this was a real nice album to relax to, or even appeal to in a downtime because of the tear jerking cello work. Excellent album in my opinion.

Report this review (#178009)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars

This is a progressive formation from Italy that is rooted in 2002, it started as an one man project by Giancarlo Erra, later the line-up grew and nowadays it's a five piece band. In 2005 Nosound released their debut CD Sol29 and this year (2008) their second effort entitled Lightdark.

Listening to this new album often Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd come to my mind, not surprisingly because Giancarlo Erra was the prime mover of Porcupine Tree tribute band Red Shift! The atmospheres in the seven compositions are very mellow, I would like to describe it as a blend of ambient, electronic and space rock featuring soaring keyboard layers, dreamy vocals, slow rhythms and some moving Gilmourian guitar solos, especially in the tracks Places Remained (melancholical vocals and howling guitar solo), the long From Silence To Noise (another compelling Gilmourian guitar solo), Kites (great build-up, wonderful interplay between soft violin-Mellotron waves and cello and splendid grand finale with spectacular synthesizer work, propulsive drums and wailing cello) and the final track Lightdark (beautiful strings sound and spacey guitar solo with saoring keyboards). At least half of this album (close to one hour running time) is in the vein of Porcupine Tree (Pink Floyd oriented-era) but Nosound also delivers more original material like the dark sounding Someone Starts To Fade Away, my absolute highlight and in my opinion the most original composition on this album: it starts dreamy with keyboard, piano and guitar along almost whispering vocals, then the sound becomes more lush and compelling, a very hypnotizing musical experience that is topped by a howling guitar solo, simply wonderful!

I am very curious to their next effort, if they continue to make music like Someone Starts To Fade Away, I am sure Nosound will turn from an obviously Porcupine Tree inspired band into a band with an own identity (just like Anekdoten). This is a very promising new progressive band that has delivered a beautiful atmospheric album, especially to be carried away during the late and dark hours!

Report this review (#178314)
Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Third album by Italian outfit is pretty weird release, but with many good qualities.

There are many elements in their music which is kinda strange - the slow, synth and keyboard driven passages which more than often will make you think about new age, the cold sound of these various layers of synths and keyboards creating a sort of alien mood; the Pink Floyd influences and moods which suddenly unfolds when the acoustic guitar, bass and drums are given room to maneuver in; and thedeep contrast between cold synths and a raspy, dark and yet oddly distant vocal style.

Minimalistic themes in slow compositions dominated by multilayered and often majestic-sounding synths is the name of the game here, with piano and vocals as regular additions while the guitar get to serve some mellow, acoustic psychedelic licks almost as frequently. Bass, percussion and drums are added to some tunes or segments of these, giving these a tinge of Pink Floyd in sound, albeit a cold sounding version of their music.

Not music for all and sundry, but fans of space rock mixed with new age and minimalistic music might want to check out this one; and same applies for symphonic rock fans to some extent.

Report this review (#185053)
Posted Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a truly beautiful album - one to lie back look at the sky (particularly the "clouds"!) relax and float away.

Some might find it a bit slow moving - I notice some of the other reviews express boredom and I can understand that, but you need to be in the right mood - a chilled out and relaxed one (or perhaps needing to relax) - and you need to know the music - I know it's a clicheay, but this one really does grow on you and you must be patient with it. The ultimate reward is great - honest.

This is like Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree at their slowest and most mellow. If I were to be critical at all (I know I have to be careful here because I'm sure the intention of this album was for ambience) then I would say it's only like the first 5 minutes of "Shine on you crazy Diamond" (and some parts of "Momentary Lapse of Reason")- Pink FLoyd were NOT really like that - they were a lot more eclectic than that. Personally I do like to rock out a bit with some more pace and Pink Floyd actually provided a lot more of that than many think. It's alos like the slower parts of Porcupine Tree's "Sky Moves SIdeways", but again - PT were not generally like that - they rock out a lot more. That's why I haven't given 5 stars.

Well, to be absolutely fair, they DO rock out in the more medium paced "Like the Elephant?" on the bonus disc - this track is awesome and I hope they do more of this in the future (I haven't heard their earlier stuff yet but I'm sure I will do)

Don't get me wrong about the above criticism though - I honestly totally love this and highly recommend this album.

It has beauty, grace, majestic Gilmour-esque guitar solos, sad-hearted lyrics, and a magnificent contribution from Tim Bowness in "Someone Starts to Fade Away". It also comes with a totally lush CD album sleeve with terrific chill-out photos - so DON'T just download it!!!

Highlight? The whole lot!

Just switch your mind off, relax and float downstream - and enjoy.


Report this review (#221119)
Posted Sunday, June 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Nosound must be the best band I discovered in 2008. It's a project from Italy of all places. Luckily, it's not the kind of sentimental stuff you might anticipate because of that. Lightdark is very much what the album title suggests. It's a gentle and melancholic album that chooses subtleness over exaggeration, dense atmospheres over swagger and light tones over oppressive chords.

It is a triumph of understatement. So, naturally, you will need to sit back and relax to this one. You need to sink into the enchanting atmosphere of Erra's world and let its slow pace gradually enchant you.

The album will probably have a recognizable flair to it. At least if you're familiar with PT's Sky Moves Sideways or with some of the recent No Man releases. Erra is an admitted admirer of No Man and even got Tim Bowness to sing on one track. So it's hardly a surprise the music treads known grounds. But this never gets in the way of enjoying it. The album is consistent throughout. Despite its obvious influences; it leaves a very personal impression. The inspiration must have run very high as the album exists in a 2CD edition that does not have a dip over its entire 90 minute course.

I haven't been able to lay my hands on anything from Nosound but this Lightdark album. But I sure will as soon as I get the chance to it.

Report this review (#246318)
Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Spacious. Ambient. Simply constructed. I can see why some listeners might not enjoy this album (and, thus, write negative reviews of it). But for one who enjoys PINK FLOYD, PORCUPINE TREE, DAVID SYLVIAN, BRIAN ENO, or AIRBAG, this is a wonderful album. In fact, IMHO, there are several songs on Lightdark that may even top the achievements of the afore-mentioned.

1. "About Butterflies and Children" is a short instrumental of swirling synthesized keyboards, organ, and, a little later, treated HAROLD BUDD-like piano. Nice, calm piece that definitely introduces the dominant sounds, tempo, and mood of the album. 7/10

2. "Places Remained" begins with a blues drum and bass rhythm and sound before RICHARD BARBIERI-like synths fill the aural spectrum just before we hear Giancarlo Erra's voice for the first time. Wow! I thought it was STEVEN WILSON! At least until the accent becomes obvious. Masterful use of the keyboard synths to fill the background--to hypnotize the listener. And a nice GILMOUR/WILSON guitar solo at the 3:20 mark to the song's end. 7/10

3. "The Misplay" is one of the album's masterpieces containing perhaps the best vocals of the album. It begins, again, with floating keyboard synths and effects masterfully accompanying some heavily treated piano notes. Giancarlo's absolutely stunning vocal work enters over the undulating synth wash to the 2:00 minute mark when pizzicato strings and the same heavily treated piano tinkering from the song's intro take over for the slowly receding vocal. Masterful use of and balance between keyboards/synths, effects, strings (a particularly beautiful cello presence after the 3:02 mark), and recording effects. (Is Mr. ENO on board?) 10/10

4. "From Silence to Noise" begins with reverse (backward) guitar and keys over a synth-strings wash. At the 2:05 mark there is a synth-strings chord shift opening the door for some delicate cymbols play--soon followed by some slow, well-spaced (and echoed) guitar single strums. FLOYD-ian vocals and bass are soon to follow. One really intriguing aspect of this song is how much attention is earned by the cymbol play--as if it were a solo--due to the fact that everything else in the song is so constant and repetitive; the cymbols are the only thing "moving." Astonishing!The 4:15 mark sees the beginning of some PINK FLOYD ("Comfortably Numb") sound. 4:45 introduces the vocal chorus (with doubled lead and harmonizing vocals). It's so-o-o PINK FLOYD! 6:25 sees a short pause until the 6:40 mark when the drums and keys change activity in a very goosebumpity moment. The bass, drums, and cymbols build and build until at 7:30 everything but the synth-string wash drops away--again pointing all attention to the returning cymbols "solo" and slow single guitar strums. At the 8:30 mark we are graced with a gorgeous GILMOUR-ish slide guitar solo--which is later doubled in the left channel. At 9:35 the chorus returns. Such a rich swirling of the synthesized strings sounds! It's like being bathed in a healing ether! AT the 11;00 mark the vocals cut out and we are left with the fascinating cymbol play over the thick swirling synths and slow, well-spaced guitar strums. The swirling synths build to a crescendo as the other instruments fade away, then themselves begin to fade while a kind of industrial-sea sound builds, over which the sounds of children palying on a playground play out to the song's end. Wow! What a trip! 9/10

5. Another pure masterpiece, "Someone Starts to Fade Away" begins with a very emotionally heart-wrenching STEVE REICH-HAROLD BUDD/BRIAN ENO-like background treated piano and ekyboard wash. A brief backward guitar solo plays before guest vocalist TIM BOWNESS (NO-MAN) enters to give an absolutely gorgeous vocal performance--the perfect match to the background music. (It seems to me that a semi-whispering, almost talking approach is when Bowness's vocal talents are most powerful.) Add mellotron at 2:15 as vocals rise an octave?as well as in urgency. At 2:50 enter bass and electric guitar--which turn into arpeggios at the 3:15 mark. The song has such a Before and After Science/Plateaux of Mirror feel to it! Last vocal whispers return at the 3:40 mark. The entrance of a very different electric guitar sound's lead solo at the 4:55 mark plays a very emotional and seemingly improvised--felt--solo for the next two and three-quarter minutes. As the background keys fade, another very different, "clean," jazzy guitar sound is introduced at the 7:35 mark. It proceeds to gently solo to the song's end. So "And Julie With ... "!! Feel it! 10/10

6. "Kites" begins with a now-familiar minimalist simplicity until the 1:40 mark when cello, mellotron, and jazz drums enter. Here Giancarlo's boxed in/treated vocals are the weakest of the album. Unfortunately, the song's foundational synth arpeggios become a bit annoying. The cello, mellotron, and drums are the song's strengths and highlights until the 4:15 mark when an interlude of samples (à la HOLGER CZUKAY) fill the space until the music and vocals return at 4:40 with a little more power and urgency. A very DAVID SYLVIAN sounding song. Excellent cello and mellotron work. This song really grew on me with repeated listens. 7/10

7. "Lightdark" begins very similarly to "Someone Starts to Fade Away:" treated piano minimalist play. At :40 the vocals enter--again sounding the same as "SStFA." Unfortunately, the chord selection, melody, harmonies, and theatric presentation are far less engaging than on "SStFA." Heavy mellotron use beginning at the 2:40 mark, joined by two soloing guitars at the 4:20 mark--one a "clean" jazzy guitar, the other holding and bending sustained notes with the twang bar. The two play to fade as the sounds of rainfall are mixed with those of birds and café-like background voices and noises. 6/10

8. The album's last great song, "Cold Afterall" begins with the sound of rainfall behind which the female voice of a public address system in a train station (or airport) sound. Oscillating keyboard synth work is joined by strumming acoustic guitar (very PF/PT sounding). Familiar vocals. Nice mellotron-accompanied and vocal chorus at 1:14 to brief jazzy guitar solo at 1:50. Enter drums and bass at 2:05. Very "Wish You Were Hear" sounding. 2:52 sees the chorus/mellotron return till 3:55. 4:10 begins the final whispered vocals before the 4:25 entrance of two screaming lead guitars sounding rather like the long end solo of TODD RUNDGREN's "The Last Ride." (From 1974's Todd.) 8/10

9. "Like the Elephant?" is an instrumental that presents a rather different and somewhat welcome change of pace and style. Heavy prog, with a very PORCUPINE TREE beginning (Including familiar keyboard chords and solo sounds, power guitar/bass chord playing.) The highlight, however--and this is a very big highlight--begins at the 3:30 mark. The most uncanny ROBERT FRIPP-sounding guitar solo--complete with awkward pauses, dissonances, and quirky key changes--that I have ever heard. (Moreso, even than NIL). 7/10

10. "You Said, 'I Am'" begins with a now over-used minimalist piano-to-be-joined by organ and plaintive vocal formula. 1:15 sees the addition of yet another very PORCUPINE TREE-sounding guitar strum with bass and mellotron. Voice fades to allow entrance of cello at 2:05 Again, the constant background (mixed way too far into the front) piano arpeggios get rather annoying. Underused cello. Best Mellotron play on the album. 7/10

11. "Clouds" ends the album with an ambient instrumental. The lead synthesier "buzzing bagpipe" sound becomes rather annoying/grating after several minutes; not even the masterful use of synthesized strings and banked voices can seem to overcome this choice for the lead. Plus, the song drags on longer than necessary. 6/10

Overall, the album takes one on a very emotional and mostly serene and kind of "urban-pastoral" journey. I like the cohesiveness and consistency of the album--as well as the recording and engineering. Though many criticize this for being derivative or too imitational, I laud NOSOUND for taking PF and PT sound and styles to new and beautiful levels--especially with "The Misplay," "From Silence to Noise," and "Someone Starts to Fade Away."

4.5 stars rounded up because I seem to enjoy this album--played start to finish--more and more with each listening, therefore, it must be a masterpiece!

Report this review (#299029)
Posted Monday, September 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars In this second studio album, NOSOUND still are redfiining, polishing and freeing themselves of the obvious Floyd's inheritance. Something that will happen later, in retrospective (I started my NOSOUND aquaintance with the 3rd. album). A blend between NO-MAN's passionate lyricism and the "new" Floyd's spacy and hurting atmospheres. These guys pull it off, far beyond mere performance, they save the day with good and original song composition. Creative musical ideas, that seem like the slow musical section of any Prog-musician from Heavy to Folk, taken outside their definite context and turned into an atmospheric new-born song. I insist, what makes this 2nd project worth the try, has to do with good song writing. (And a completely unobtrusive vocalist, who withholds his talents in favor of the song , which in my book, adds up points). This band, in this "Lightdark" are still finding out their own language, when they get there, they sound amazingly unique and worth the visit. ***3.5 PA stars.
Report this review (#1046475)
Posted Friday, September 27, 2013 | Review Permalink

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