nedjelja, 9. ožujka 2014.

Tomorrow We Sail - For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight (2014)


Folk, slowcore, neoklasika, minimalizam, ambient, post-rock.
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Tomorrow We Sail is a group of seven musicians based in Leeds, UK. Formed in 2009, they have spent the past four years developing their sound into what is now an impressive landscape of billowing, reverb-soaked guitars, orchestral strings, piano, organ and multi-layered group-harmony vocals. Folk, slowcore, neo-classicism, minimalism, ambient and post-rock are all apparent in the music Tomorrow We Sail create together. If you’ve ever been moved by albums like Talk Talk’s ‘Spirit Of Eden’, Sigur Ros’ ‘( )’ or Low’s ‘Secret Name’, you may find yourself falling for this music.
After self-releasing their debut EP, 'The Common Fire', in 2010 the band retreated back to their studio to further develop and refine their sound as they sought to incorporate an ever-expanding roster of instruments. With the line-up solidified, the band released two singles, 'The White Rose' in November 2011, followed by 'For Rosa' in May 2012 ahead of appearances at festivals such as Kendal Calling and Tramlines. October 2012 saw Tomorrow We Sail embark on their first tour of the UK & EU, playing headline shows and supports with bands such as Caspian, Ef and Last Harbour, culminating in an appearance at the The London International Festival of Exploratory Music at Kings Place. That Autumn the band were part of the soundtrack to the independent feature film 'Broken Roads', released in cinemas across the US and winner of Best Motion Picture at the American International Film Awards.
Now the groundwork is laid for the band’s debut full-length. ‘For Those Who Caught The Sun In Flight’ is a supremely well-realised work. The seven stately, graceful songs move in orchestrated ebbs and flows of sound, gently building an immersive group identity. The voices are sincere and affecting, and often come in pairs or groups. The words themselves are full of emotive storytelling. The central trilogy of ‘Never Goodbye’, ‘December’ and ‘Testament’ is based loosely on Vera Brittain’s writing about the lost generation after WW1, and especially her autobiography ‘Testament Of Youth’, now considered a feminist classic about women’s role in the society of the time. There’s a powerful sense of the layers of history being carefully unravelled. And, unusually for a set of long songs, not a moment is wasted. The melodies are strong, the performances assured, nothing is hurried. Tomorrow We Sail ask for your patience.

Gizeh Records seems to go from strength to strength, as shown by its inaugural 2014 release, For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight, by the Leeds, UK-based septet Tomorrow We Sail. The band specializes in a style of music that while generally defying easy classification, draws upon multiple genres, among them prog-rock, post-rock, folk, and neo-classical; anyone with a jones for Sigur Rós at its most elegiac will certainly find much to like about Tomorrow We Sail. The group, which formed in 2009, features vocalist-guitarists Tim Hay and Ella May Blake, string players David Ramsay and Angela Chan, guitarist Matt Clarke, bassist Tom Ilett, and drummer Alistair Hay. Many of the members contribute keyboards to the album and sing on it as well, and accordion and Shruti Box also find their way onto the fifty-five-minute recording. Leading up to its debut full-length, the group issued an EP (2010's The Common Fire), two singles (The White Rose in 2011 and For Rosa in 2012), and contributed to the soundtrack for the independent film Broken Roads.
For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight begins boldly with the stately dirge “The Well & the Tide,” the music's slow burn of strings, guitars, and tom-toms dramatically complemented by Tim Hay's expressive vocal. Coming to the album for the first time, one would be excused for thinking of Tomorrow We Sail as an outfit with prog-rock leanings and fronted by a singer not afraid to expose his passionate side. Reinforcing that impression is the band's appetite for long-form compositions, with two of the seven pushing past the ten-minute mark. However, as the album progresses, it becomes clear that labeling the band a prog outfit would be tantamount to unwarranted pigeonholing.
The epic “Eventide” sees the group deftly alternating between melancholy slow episodes and climactic buildups and achieving an emotional impact in its music that more than justifies the Sigur Rós reference (the instrumental section at the center of “December” also invites the comparison). One shouldn't make too much of the detail, however: it would be more accurate to say that Tomorrow We Sail is kin to Sigur Rós in terms of the uplifting spirit conveyed by its music; sonically speaking, the two outfits are dramatically different, especially in the vocal department. Regardless, an ambitious setting such as “Eventide” illustrates that Tomorrow We Sail (like Sigur Rós) is a band whose playing is distinguished by a fine-tuned degree of delicacy and that knows how to reap maximum impact from both subdued and aggressive passages.
As strong as the opening pieces are, they're bettered by the subsequent trilogy of songs, based on Vera Brittain's autobiography Testament of Youth and her writings about the so-called post-WW1 'lost generation.' Though presented as separate pieces (and indexed as such), “Never Goodbye,” “December,” and “Testament” appear without pauses between them and thus could be seen as constituting a seventeen-minute epic. During the trilogy, the singing of Ella May Blake assumes a more prominent role, and consequently “Never Goodbye” achieves a stately grandeur that is frankly soul-stirring. As powerful as that song is, arguably the peak is “Testament,” a heart-stopping piece featuring a hushed female vocal performance by Blake whose exquisite beauty is matched by the song's soaring spirit; adding significantly to the material's plaintive character is the backing the band members and especially the string players bring to the performance. (Interestingly, there are moments on the album when the male and female voices intertwine in a way that calls to mind the vocal interplay of The Swell Season's Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.)
One would perhaps expect that everything following such a piece would be anti-climactic and secondary. And while that's true to some degree—how could it be otherwise when “Testament” is so stunning—the closer “For Rosa” (which ultimately rises to an anthemic pitch that would do Godspeed You! Black Emperor proud) does manage to provide a goodly share of emotionally charged moments during its thirteen-minute run. All things considered, there's nothing hyperbolic about characterizing For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight as a triumphant and superbly well-realized work.  -

House Music Vol. I LIVE/ACOUSTIC [2012] 
For Rosa SINGLE [2012] 
The White Rose SINGLE [2011] LISTEN | BUY

For Rosa

For Rosa (2012)

The Gizeh family is a wide one, but Angela Chan seems to be at every gathering.  She contributed vocals to FareWell Poetry’s album and is half of A-Sun Amissa along with Richard Knox.  She’s also the violist for the 7-part band Tomorrow We Sail, whose newest single is making a play for the recently vacated spot once held by stage mates Her Name Is Calla.  On the new single (a follow-up to last year’s The White Rose and a predecessor to an album), we hear plaintive vocals, breakdowns and builds, and most importantly, strings.  We are not particularly keen on the vocals, as they seem unnecessary here, but the power is in the instrumentation.  When the 13-minute track kicks into high gear, it’s nigh-unstoppable, a pleasant surprise after its languid but pleasing 2-track predecessor.
Two key paths for a genre to avoid extinction are mutation and integration.  The former involves pushing a genre into territories unknown; the latter involves the inclusion of more mainstream elements.  Tomorrow We Sail seems to be taking the latter path.  As much as we hate to say this, vocals may be the best chance of keeping post-rock alive.  But the thrill of the track lies in the string sequence that dominates the final five minutes.  As the approach changes from long notes to short, the music erupts: first with 3:00 left, again with 1:27, and most importantly again at 0:27, when it’s just strings.  All post-rock fans love crescendoes, and Tomorrow We Sail is oh-so-happy to oblige.  This is the song that makes us look forward to the album; For Rosa is a success. - Richard Allen

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