ponedjeljak, 15. travnja 2013.

Still Light – Rosarium (2012)

Okultna moć gubitaka i poraza. 
Sve tiša i snažnija moć prošlosti.
Psiho-pastoralni avant-pop.

triptych of videos: http://www.soletwistedheir.com

Rosarium was written, recorded, and produced by Kirill Nikolai in various parts of Colorado, with additional guest contributions by Carol Anne McGowan (Donegal, Ireland) and Randall Frazier (Orbit Service). Additional regular contributors include cellist Phil Norman, singer-songwriter Jessica Dye, William Klingenmeier and Grayson Scherer.
Continuing to draw inspiration from film and literature, Rosarium deals with sentiments of loss and the occult; the delusion, melancholy, and horror that is born from our inability to part with that which is dearest to us
A triptych of short avant-garde films by Denver based artist Donald Maestas can be viewed at the mini-site Sole Twisted Heir. The work was influenced by Rosarium, and tells a tale of it’s own set to tracks “Processional Pt. I”, “The Cross of Snow”, & “Rosary”.
For more information and news on this release visit Tonefloat and Still Light. To pre-order the album now visit the Tonefloat shop. Sample tracks can be previewed through Tonefloat’s soundcloud page.

Defeat must be faced when we are confronted with the loss of a loved one. Loss is an unbearable event that everyone, at one point or another, must encounter. Next to no comfort numbs the pain when someone so precious is unjustly taken. Coming to terms and coping with loss, whether it be a beloved family member or a dear friend, reveals previously hidden traits about ourselves, while how we react defines who we truly are; the responses that lay in front of us can either drain or renew the spirit, in the process pushing and pulling us in very different directions. It’s the ultimate test of resolve and resuscitation. Facing loss, the healing process – our own natural defence – helps to develop and nurture a lasting resolve to moderate the cold spells and lead us to safety. Through tearful determination, our own resurrection is made possible. Release from the grip of grief can take many different forms, and the positive, creative process of music and artistry is just one of many. Supporting us every step of the way, with every heartbeat, the passing of a loved one leaves a deep carving scarred over our own heart; a slice of our soul also departs to the other side.
As Still Light, Kirill Nikolai delves deeply into the confines and the hardship of loss, and our own, patient recovery. As ‘Rosarium’ opens, with a ghostly, spiralling whirlwind of converging emotions whipping the air, we could well be witnessing the aftermath of life’s end. Still Life exorcises the demons of grief that possess our own inner sanctuary. Angelic voices cleanse the space free of negative thoughts, echoing as a past lover’s voice may echo into the present. ‘Bough’, the opener, droops forlornly back into a longed for past with mournful, fallen branches, but the roots remain stuck in the present. The lyrics themselves wilt with a painful longing, dehydrated tones suffering from newfound loneliness, and the unreachable distance between life and death that now separates a lover. The only source of rain to hydrate dried lips falls from trickling tears that cannot be blinked away; lit only by a faint prism of hopeful colour that, one day, we may recover. The lyrics reflect this, as ‘…the colours still come to life in the dark’. The mournful melody of a violin adds further to the ghostly garden of dead roses and fading voices, clouded in misty remembrance; the music occupies this mental garden, complete with a high-walled maze, filled with holly and brambles that constantly scratch at the mind with every twisting turn, trapping us in melancholic loss until we find a way to escape.
‘A Thing Buried’ places us within a haunting world of dark folk that is made to sound like an ancient burial, with a soulful slide of a guitar melody and a plucked mandolin alongside a light, medieval drone. The drone that lies underneath sounds centuries old, and yet, strangely, it also sounds relatively recent due to its electronic usage. A peculiar presence is made real due to the blurring of past and present, and the spider webs that hang between the two like a draped veil of mourning and the dusted memories of youth.
‘Rosarium’ doesn’t want to forget about the past; it clings onto the past for fear of losing one’s future. ‘Rosarium’ faces the ghosts of the past through the sorrowful vocals, prominent, heartfelt violins and acoustic guitars. Dark folk has never felt as decayed as this, and yet the music is still beautiful, haunting the very space around us with the spectre of past love.
The occult, and the horrors of both losing our beloved, and our inability to cope with the loss, is brought into stark focus. Never fully exposed, ‘Rosarium’ floats in the dreamy, rose tinted gardens of a recurring dream, where nothing fades and everything remains healthy. For this reason, despite the subject matter, the music remains a dream – albeit a sad one – and not a nightmare. Yet, look closer and there’s a mask of decay hovering over Rosarium’s beautiful face. One lent to it perhaps by a spirit called forth accidentally, and not the reconnection we were after. Despite its colourful beauty, the rose still has its thorn; beauty and sadness, appreciation and torment. Thorns and lyrical thistles lie dangerously close to the beautiful, melodic guitars. The guitars may be light, dressed in folk colours, but the tales weigh heavily upon the mind in our own gardens of loss.
Openly, the lyrics confess all. Covered in pastoral scenery and fog drenched in light April rain, the promise of spring that is cooled by a rainfall of melancholia. A carefully plucked mandolin summons a spirit in the dead of night, in order to release us from the cruel circles of déjà vu. ‘Rosarium’ struggles to cope with the past, as if wounded by emotional cuts. Demonstrating this loss, ‘The Cross of Snow’ only manages to temporarily cover the cracks with a fleeting white sheet of snow; covered by 15 years of heartbreak. This is one maze that is yet to be left behind. Yet, Music Herself makes it possible to heal any wounds that may have been inflicted. Rosarium’s eyes still see a figure of two everywhere it may walk, festering in the mind like a true haunting. Whether it be the after burn and slow death of a relationship, or a life cut short, the grief we feel isn’t too far removed from the other. Unconnected thoughts drag us back to that event, hanging like incomplete verses on their own cross; every other waking thought is sacrificed upon it.
Rusty church bells that may be close to slipping out of tune ring out a mournful service. Contrasting this is the sound of laughter, as the Music remembers your adorable laugh. The world was perfect, with you, and of where you used to be. Thoughts return to the mirror; of staring at the glassy side where your now invisible presence once stood, and will never be again. The warmest smile graced your eyes, and your absent kisses now leave these lips cold. Her voice was the sweetest Music. This is the desolation felt, before a stream of water cleanses away the memory quickly and sedately, a wind harbouring isolation.
We cannot escape the past.
Our first droning hymn carries through ‘Processional’, in two parts, marching to the final destination; the resting place. The lyrics also mirror the new, promising opening of life on the cusp of spring, and the closure in the departure of a loved one. A minor chord progression sullenly plays on, beside a flower led bouquet of mournful bass, thumping their own tribute; the guitar lines also gently weep with a treble high fragility. As the hearse rolls silently by, tearful faces are reflected in the windows, casting their own phantoms that were sadly absent from the mirror that hung in the bedroom. The Music blooms into a resurrected chorus, and this resurrection ascends the Music to her throne in the second part. Autumn is mentioned, as the grief turns to acceptance. And yet, strangely, it is this season that signals the death of the leaves, until they rise again in their own resurrection. An electric guitar solo adds depth to the crystalline tone, in memory of a life led with clarity and purity. The pause for silence between the two pieces could represent the service itself. The Music here becomes a truly ephemeral experience, untouched and untroubled by both love and loss as the grief is shivered out of the system.
Condolences seem to become more than just words. Rising from the ashes of death, ‘Processional, Part II’ is the admission and the acceptance before the resurrection. A faint light glows ever brighter, and what was once buried in soil now rises in a magnificent spectacle; a new life ascending, released from the chains of this life. Devotion, to Music, to moving on and to people, pours out of Rosarium’s tears. It isn’t easy to move on. This melancholia increases the emotion, and makes it Music we can all relate to. ‘Rosary’ concludes the album on a note of tomorrow, as light glints through a summer house in prismatic shards of belief, endurance and hope; warming the skin after such a cold spell. Even if it were just a dream, why not still chase it?
‘Rosarium’ may be bleak and mournful, but even beauty may be found in desperation; it’s just harder to see. Rosarium whispers what may be said, and such words we may find when many fail, if we had one last chance to speak to a loved one on the other side. In the gardens of our hearts, the thorns must be cut so as not to take root and spread. Your memory occupies a sacred place free from overgrown thorns; ‘Rosarium’ also exists in this space.
I will be faithful to your memory.
‘Rosarium’ is the one last look before the soil is cast, the one last leaf left on the vine.
Reluctantly, these fingers release your own, fading grasp. The music captures all of this in stark detail, and it is because of the very real, human element that the Music resonates as deeply as it does. In the end, this is what makes the Music special; the emotional heartbeat continues to circulate blood. ‘Rosarium’ is the open letter and the secret diary that is found in the bedroom drawer, while overlooking the misty garden from above. We may like to split the physical life from the afterlife, but it’s really a thin, fragile line. It’s closer than you think.
Your spirit will always be here, in this heart, and death only defeats us momentarily. As a cold spring morning rises, it fulfills the promise of new life, yet this spacious garden is dressed in black. Life departs; life goes on, but one may accidentally leave the light on, after you have gone.
There is no forthcoming atonement, or sight of your apparition. - James Catchpole for Fluid Radio

Unlike the previous album of Still Light, a group of people conducted by the lead vocalist and musician Kirill Nikolai, "Rosarium" isn't as heavily folk-based. This fact is already proven by the opening number, which builds its minimalistic atmospheres slowly and carefully with cellos and gentle use of drums, acoustic guitars and male voice. This change is understandable, since mr. Nikolai is the only remaining member from the debut's line-up.
The songs have become longer and even softer than earlier, and simultaneously their atmospheres have become even more fragile and appealing. Despite the fragility, they're far from hollow or dull; for example the near-ethereal third song features some bubbly droning in the back, and the ukulele makes sure that the guitars don't sound too usual or dull. These are the things what define the album; organic ambience that's highly emotional, even fragile, but still has a lot of depth, character and thought-out layers. Every vocalist must be credited for their skillfully emotional delivery, which suit the careful and held back-instrumentation perfectly.
I could go more in-depth about the compositions, but for me, there's no need to do that due to the strong atmospheres. If you liked the previous album, you'll love this one - simple as that. Too bad that the digital promo includes no lyrics or cover arts. - www.damned-by-light.com/

The rust of autumn needs a soundtrack, and Still Light’s second album is one of this year’s best candidates. Kirill Nikolai’s progressive folk project is up to steam again, three years after the immediately excellent début record Lything. The metaphor may be ill-chosen, though: Rosarium ambles through the countryside at a ponderous pace, and steam power is far frown my mind when listening to this record, unless it is the power of a train gently but cruelly taking you away from a lover to an unknown destination.
Although soft electric guitar melodies and fragile, almost whimper-spoken vocals form the prominent heart of Nikolai’s music, a lot of the strength of Rosarium lies in the subtle additions: fuzzy spells of synth and organ, backing vocals, gentle percussion, touches of strings… The influence of sixties and seventies prog experimentation – the calmer variety, that is: more “Grantchester Meadows” than “Astronomy Domine” – can be felt clearly, especially when Nikolai indulges in a misty instrumental drone like “Processional pt. II”.
The richness of the instrumentation, also thanks to the guest contributors, and the warmth of the production add much to this album’s value, which unfortunately is a tad light when it comes to composition. Lots of bittersweet waltzing with the falling leaves, but few surprises apart from an occasional new voice, or an instrumental bit where the intricate sound design shines forth. Despite this lightness, Rosarium is convincing, a melancholic journey that pulls you in, not in the least at the very end of the final track, where softly fading acoustic guitar, organ, and cello disappear into the autumn waters.
A perfect album for the season, then, and a lovely space to get lost in for a while. The collector in you can rejoice as well, because this is another one of those lavish tonefloat releases, especially the limited double LP on 45 rpm, which comes with a CD copy as well. Finally, there’s a triptych of videos to promote this album online at the dedicated site http://www.soletwistedheir.com

Lything (2009)

Most of the music (predominantly acoustic!) was recorded in Kirill'scloset/bedroom/living room in Boulder, CO, Lucy Hague's pad in Edinburgh, Scotland and Sand's home studio in London. It could probably be called psychedelic folk or freak folk, and – according toKiril – it is influenced by all kind of different sounds, 60's and 70's folk/psych/prog/singer-songwriters, drone/ambient, jazz, classic rock, and some more contemporary music. The male/female vocal arrangements for example are very reminiscent of British folk-jazz bandTHE PENTANGLE. A beautiful, very dreamy, often rather dark exquisite ambiance is dominant and makes for a pleasurable listening experience.

This cdr release is an edition of 50 copies, all with individually hand drawn and numbered inside covers, it comes with a wrap around front cover and insert.

"STILL LIGHT are Kirill Nikolai, Lucy Hague and Sand Snowman.
Most of the music (predominantly acoustic!) was recorded in Kirill's closet/bedroom/living room in Boulder, CO, Lucy Hague's pad in Edinburgh, Scotland and Sand's home studio in London. It could probably be called psychedelic folk or freak folk, and – according to Kiril – it is influenced by all kind of different sounds, 60's and 70's folk/psych/prog/singer-songwriters, drone/ambient, jazz, classic rock, and some more contemporary music. The male/female vocal arrangements for example are very reminiscent of British folk-jazz band THE PENTANGLE. A beautiful, very dreamy, often rather dark exquisite ambiance is dominant and makes for a pleasurable listening experience." - Mike Floyd homemade lofi psych

"Still Light is an eclectic trio joining Edinburgh based Singer/Songwriter Lucy Hague, London based artist Sand Snowman, and Kirill Nikolai. My original search led me to Kirill Nikolai, who I was surprised to see Irish born painter Francis Bacon sighted as an influence. Also among the top friends listed I find Nick Drake. Upon seeing this I am immediately drawn to the conclusion that Still Light will be golden, and they are. Among the two songs found on their fairly new Myspace page, “Tenebre”, from the 2009 release “Lything” is part Iron And Wine’s “Our Endless Numbered Days” with a dash of imagery formed from the tale of Into The Wild’s Chris McCandless and strangely enough a touch of U2’s “Joshua Tree”. The open plain, the winding road, the desolation. I hear and feel so many ranges of influence. There is Pink Floyd, there is J. Tilman of Fleet Floxes, and to compare Lucy Hague’s vocals to that of Amy Lee, I will do just that. “Tenebre”, with is vaguely Southern use of what appears to be a banjo only leads me to speculate that the trio comes together with a broad background to form this truly new, original, and unique sound. With it’s subtle and overall non-intrusive instrumentation, “Tenebre” stands out and allows for Still Light to shine as vocalist’s as well as seasoned musicians. Music for elevation, not the elevator." - Brad Tilbe adequacy.net

"Its October 1st and ominous skies are already rolling in. Appropriately, so are new tracks from Still Light, a UK/US band that crafts exceedingly dreamy acoustic psych crafted for dark mornings where getting out from under the covers is the last thing one wants to think of. Blurring the line between ambient folk, celestial drone and a land where Delia Derbyshire is still recording the world, Lything, the groups latest release on Apollolaan Recordings (limited to 50!), is a wondrous departure from reality. It drifts by like clouds bound for some other town, but not without leaving an impression. Sort of like this. Recorded by Lucy Hague, Sand Snowman and Kirill Nikolai, Lything is best suited for low impact home life, which makes sense as the record was cut in "Kirill's closet/bedroom/living room in Boulder, CO, Lucy Hague's pad in Edinburgh, Scotland and Sand's home studio in London." Blanket vibes for sure. Take a look at the gorgeous hand made art here. For those of you still lamenting the lose of summer, this should help ease the pain." - McG chocolatebobka - 

“as 2009 was drawing to a close, critics were falling over themselves to include an album in their “end of the year” lists which had been printed in the ridiculously tiny print run of 50 copies: still light’s lything was a hideaway in sepia colours, a private world of heartbroken guitars, light-filled drones, ancient whispers and echoes of folk, country, progrock and ambient. firmly rooted in the world of song, these at first simple structures would sometimes branch out into soundscape-territory within the blink of an eye, while always retaining their melancholic melodic charm. so warm and organic was this combination that many were led to believe it had to have been written and recorded by the three musicians in the same room.
as it turned out, however, lything was the result of a long-distance partnership between edinburgh-based singer/songwriter lucy hague, colorado’s kirill nikolai and london-based artist sand snowman, known from his psychedelic folk suites on tonefloat. by freely passing around ideas, concepts and files, the album slowly attained its cinematic beauty through a process of gradual refinement. thanks to this re-release, their music is sure to finally meet a lot more interested ears this time – and turn into a hot contender for 2010′s end of the year lists again.
lything is out on tonefloat’s c imprint on black 180grams vinyl in handmade sleeve with lacquered and stamped insert. the release date is march 16. the album can be pre-ordered directly from our tonefloat shop.”

‘Lything’ in several best albums of 2009 lists:

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