by Marianne Gallagher
Fugitive Light and Themes of Consolation (the follow up to the SAY Award nominated, The Paralian) is the final piece in a trio of albums chronicling the light and shadow, land and sea of Scotland’s eastern reaches.
It’s a document of musical topography from Dundonian composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist, Wasylyk, crafted with exquisite detail and the tenderest care. For these are songs of home.
Entirely instrumental, save a few snatches of found sound, it’s a record preoccupied with light: its ebbing and flowing, the violet hour near sunset, and the glow of the moon and its pull on the seas. But human memories are infused in these landscapes too – and it’s these scattered, half-remembered histories that keep us rooted and rapt.
Opener, A Further Look at Loss’ (scored by fellow Taysider and Paralian collaborator, Pete Harvey) shimmering strings build to the swell of a cresting wave, till trumpet switches to centre stage, and steps to self-assured melody. As mourning songs go, it’s more tribute than an elegy.
The sing-song snatches of children’s voices on the woozily gorgeous, Last Sunbeams of Childhood, form the album’s own golden moment. Delicately weaving organic sounds into composition, Wasylyk evokes almost aching nostalgia. It’s an atmospheric work, with each moment well weighted. The smokey lavender haze of The Violet Hour; the spectral shadows that dance through In Balgay Silhouette are ever-eerier for the metronome tick in the backdrop. Piano motifs build an insistent, tidal churn with the ferocity of brooding repetition, shoring up on the light gothic of Black Bay Dream.
But it isn’t all mood and gloom. Awoke in the Early Days of a Better World’s percussive purr gives over into a cocktail of seductive brass, with the cheekiest hint of 70s lounge lizard to the hipsway (Average White Band hail from the same part of the world, and I like to think that’s a little nod to them).
Sonorous brass plays us out on Lost Aglow’s fading light, as the record melts away to lapping waves. A treasure of a song cycle, and a fitting conclusion to his triptych – crafted so artfully you can almost taste the salt air tang of the sea. This is not a violet hour – it’s a golden one.
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