Review Summary: Do you remember the first time the world faded into one body?
Brilliant sunrise drones are challenged abruptly with stochastic bursts of chime, piano, and glitch, and the cohesive progress of the opening track Prism decays into an organic throb of electronic noise. Concepts arise but are jauntily quelled before their climax by new voices who fight not to be heard but just to live, to live brightly, to live for their own purpose – a holistic purpose aligned by both their nature and necessity. The experience is as coherent as it is engaging.
Electronic beats and rich synth swell alongside flute, piano, and woodwind. A post-rock-like manipulation of texture and dynamism and subtle incorporation of sampling is broken suddenly by almost ritualistic ambient passages, which themselves are antagonised by extended portamentos of noise and vibrant bursts of instrumentation. There is conflict – musical discontinuity is actively emphasised – but not in an uncomfortable or aggressive sense. The music is complex and challenging, but unquestionably easy to listen to. There are no bold motifs of sorrow or empowerment, but instead a quiet and deeply moving sense of unfolding wonder.
A stumbling, ethereal lead marks the start of the title suite Virginial, and continues to resurface between explorative lulls before building to a frantic climax cut prematurely short by quavering breathy gasps of synthesiser and warm feedback. “I open at the close” - a meditative piano line that threatened to blossom in the suite’s first section finally builds, and dies.
Disjointed, euphoric dream becomes the growing awareness of heart and breath - the sharp, counterpoint pulses and muffled electronic shrieks of Stigmata, a dense passage of glitch and minimalist sampling – and the first taste of euphoric life. Unspoken, tentative joy becomes peace, wandering thought, small rustles of unnoticed movement. Soft oboe, fluttering drone, and finally...
Virgins is often abruptly faltering, perhaps even overly concise, but its dim, timeless intimacy is all the more compelling for this truthful imperfection. Its tale is both immersive and universal, evoking afresh memories reshaped subtly at each recollection by focus and nurture. Understated as a “deliberate excursion into live, improvisatory performance”, Virgins succeeds most vividly when beheld in light of its remarkable concept – a touching and profoundly human piece of art.