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Nad Sylvan - Spiritus Mundi CD (album) cover

SPIRITUS MUNDI

Nad Sylvan

Crossover Prog


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4 stars Seventh solo album from this Swedish (US raised) vocalist, who worked with the Steve Hackett band and with Roine Stolt in Agents Of Mercy. In this release, he sets in music and renders with his voice a set of poems by the 1923 Nobel Literature awarded Irish writer, William Butler Yeats.

Contributing instrumental interest to this new Sylvan recording, we find a nice selection of well-loved prog names, including Steve Hackett and Tony Levin. On the vocal duties Nad is assisted by Andrew Laitres (The Winter Tree), resulting that collaboration in a considerable embelishment of the record in the form of harmonies & duets. Laitres lends also his sensible acoustic guitar work, which vertebrates and brings a great sense of flow to the whole album.

As for the influences, I can point to the obvious, and to the not so obvious ones. On the obvious side, we have the Phil Collins & Cat Stevens tinged vocals of the main singer. This Wind & Wuthering Genesis-like colour reaches also the harmonies, for example in track 7 The Hawk, to a really beautiful effect. It's also clearly audible an overall sound reminding of Steve Hackett's Under A Mediterranean Sky (2021), using the union of mostly acoustic sounds with orchestral arrangements in order to create historically, geographically and culturally exotic atmospheres. The perfect example of this exotic twist is given in track 2 Sailing to Byzantium, with terrific parts of piano. And coming now to the less obvious side of the influence, as soon as the album starts we are taken into an Al Stewart-like journey through time, in which the acoustic guitar leads the way, occasionally relieved by other instruments, like harpsichord, and by the band itself.

A bag of treats, waiting to be explored to the bottom.

Report this review (#2540952)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars NAD SYLVAN is the Swedish artist who worked on UNIFAUN that I knew at that time, AGENTS OF MERCY with Roine STOLT; he is above all the voice of Steve HACKETT for his GENESIS Revisited projects. His first solo album dating from 2015, this 7th "Spirit of the World" musically translates texts by Irish poet William Butler Yeats on a melancholy, progressive, classical and serene basis. He is assisted by Andrew LAITRES and offers mostly folk-rock acoustics given the covid conditions and a radical change from his trilogy of previous albums.

"The Second Coming" opens the album with a symphonic, airy, spatial intro; rupture and association of acoustic guitar, flute and the angelic voice of Nad on a story of the Spanish flu pandemic; the orchestration takes it up a notch with a warm ALAN PARSONS organ, the drums well present, Tony's intense bass and a heady chorus; wise appetizer where the voice gradually draws on that of Cat STEVENS. "Sailing to Byzantium" for an Irish rhyme ballad ŕ la Phil and ŕ la Peter, choose; a progressive tempo on the moods of a man on Heaven does require a sound of pure quality; rise which plugs me into SUPERTRAMP for the place left for the piano, there is also FISH there for the orgasmic rise, the symphonic orchestration putting more relief, depth. "Cap and Bells" and that scrawl of birds on the scrawny voice, mounted with orchestral acoustics, piano, guitar and flutes, crystal clear; jazzy section in the background and Murray HEAD or Cat STEVENS for the intensity of the vocals; a sound cascade in fact dotted with folk touches. Intimate, wait-and-see "The Realists", horse trots, distant train, arrival of guitar notes; the voice of MILKS and an interlude filled with emotional, folk and medieval warmth, ideal for traveling in a lush landscape.

"The Stolen Child" on a psychedelic sound to PINK FLOYD, it goes on the titles of GENESIS and tunes on Lewis CARROLL; the voice becoming an instrument in its own right. A minimalist sound amplified by the accordion which makes you dive into ruminations with a catchy title like the desire of this child attracted by fairies, a latent air memory of the Charisma Label. "To an Isle in the Water" continues on this melancholy melody lineage; dreamlike interlude with 12-string guitar and vocals from the beginnings of GENESIS the whole entangled, title ending with a return of Chinese flute and guitar giving in the vibrations of spleen. "The Hawk" arrives to give a little atmosphere and liveliness, a bit cheerful title on THE BEATLES, on Phil on the voice after the departure of the archangel (ah the reminiscences !!), the keyboards also giving more range, ideal for reinforcing the notion that the soul can be symbolized in the form of a falcon-musical instrument; it's lively, festive, announcing the end of the album to come out of it to cheer up. "The Witch and the Mermaid" and the second fast rhyme, guitar and pastoral flute which send towards limbo or towards an interlude title of GENESIS. "The Fisherman" for the final track with bass and tambourine present, repetitive percussion rhythm put there like a medley of what could be heard; a text about the ideal man, the return of the two voices simultaneously, an electric slide guitar solo that feels good and the keyboard has priority to keep this catchy side, a title that also makes you regret the lack of gaiety and liveliness of the other.

"You've Got to Find a Way" and the first of two bonuses: a hymn, a syrupy ballad romance, composed entirely by Nad; it's rhythmic groove, almost country, folk yes, well remember to take the train to take the right track, the organ to die for, the guitar solo that was a bit lacking on the album is good here "To a Child Dancing in the Wind "and return to a poem by Yeats, track in the vein of an old GENESIS, latent acoustics led by Steve HACKETT in person, pastoral with the voices of Nad and Laitres; at the end wait a minute and you will have the hidden bonus, little sequel to the cover of 'The Hawk'.

NAD SYLVAN is therefore releasing an album full of dark romanticism with harmonies calibrated to give you a little less than an hour of relaxation, if you take the plunge to take the CD version with the bonus of his friend Steve. An intimate, introspective album that plunges into the depths of Genesis. Ideal for a romantic evening by the fire.

Report this review (#2544980)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2021 | Review Permalink

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